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WV Senate advances its own take on restoring magistrate pay

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) -

West Virginia magistrates and top staffers in four counties could regain pay lost from the decline in 2010 Census numbers thanks to a pending state Senate measure.

State law now links a magistrate court's salaries to its county's population. That triggered January pay cuts in Lewis, McDowell, Wetzel and Wyoming counties.

The Senate Finance Committee voted April 1 to reverse those reductions by lowering the population threshold that controls the pay scale. That change would also raise pay in Barbour and Roane counties.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the measure last week. The full Senate could vote on passage as early as April 2.

A divided House of Delegates approved a different bill early in the legislative session that would increase salaries for 38 magistrates statewide. The Senate measure would only benefit 14 magistrates as well as staff. The state Supreme Court estimates it would increase personnel spending by $240,800 annually.

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