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EDITORIAL: Limiting pay for lawmakers

The Journal editorial

The West Virginia Legislature is in its regular session for 60 days, a time in which our elected representatives are expected to address matters of importance to the state and its citizens.

During the session, lawmakers in both the state Senate and the House of Delegates are compensated for their time. But a bill, introduced by House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, which stalled during the session, proposed limiting the amount of compensation legislators would receive during extended sessions.

House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison

In total, failure to reach a budget agreement during the regular session by Gov. Jim Justice and both chambers of the Legislature meant that there were 20 extra days our lawmakers spent in session.

Their shortcomings as a legislative body will fall back on the already-strapped taxpayers of West Virginia.

Miley’s bill would have limited their “extra session” compensation to five days. According to Miley, each extra day the Legislature is in session costs taxpayers $35,000.

For his part, Miley says he is writing a check to the State Treasury to “reimburse the taxpayers of West Virginia for this special-session nonsense.”

Good for him.

Perhaps if our elected officials knew they’d be working without pay after a certain point, they would make more of an effort to do their jobs in the time frame provided.

Really, while Miley’s move is honorable, it should be the standard.

Our local lawmakers should follow suit. We should not pay for the childish antics which have become a regular occurrence in Charleston.

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