WV: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Judicial Compensation Commission; increases would happen automatically unless rejected by 60% of legislature

West Virginia’ Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting today to discuss SB 339 and the creation of a Judicial Compensation Commission.

Under the plan the Commission would be made up of the Dean of West Virginia University’s law school, the President of the Bar, and appointees by the Governor, House Speaker, and Senate President.

The commission would look at a variety of issues related to judicial salaries including

  1. The skill and experience required of the particular judgeship at issue
  2. The value of comparable service performed by justices and judges, as determined by reference to judicial compensation in other states and in the federal government
  3. The value of comparable service performed in the private sector including, but not limited to, private judging, arbitration, and mediation
  4. The compensation of attorneys in the private sector
  5. The cost of living
  6. The compensation presently received by other public officials in the state
  7. The compensation of deans, presidents, and chancellors of the university systems, if available
  8. The level of overall compensation adequate to attract the most highly qualified individuals in the state, from a diversity of life and professional experiences, to serve the judiciary without unreasonable hardship and with judicial independence unaffected by financial concerns
  9. Any other information the commission may find relevant in its mission to determine the appropriate compensation for the state’s professional judicial officers.

The recommendations of the Commission would be automatically appropriated and take effect unless rejected by 60% of the House and Senate. If accepted, the Commission would disband for 4 years. If rejected, the Commission would be required to meet annually until a recommendation is approved.