CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- The West Virginia Legislature has approved gradual salary hikes for magistrates and court staff in the state's lower-population counties.
The House of Delegates voted 55-39 on Thursday to send a Senate-approved pay measure to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Republicans opposed the legislation.
Tomblin included the bill on a special session agenda devoted largely to proposals that stalled during the just-completed regular session.
West Virginia now has two magistrate court pay categories based on population. Thursday's legislation would reverse pay cuts in four counties where salaries dropped following the 2010 Census.
It would also immediately raise salaries in two additional counties. The rest of the counties in the lower tier would then see pay hikes in 2017, after the next election.
The bill also calls for a study of magistrate caseloads.