CHARLESTON—On the first day of the special budget session, a group of eleven delegates introduced a bill to limit legislator’s pay during special sessions. Lead sponsor Stephen Baldwin (D, Greenbrier) argued on May 4 that special session costs are an ineffective and inefficient use of taxpayer dollars, saying, “I don’t think legislators should get paid twice when they failed to do the job right the first time.”
The special session, which cost over $650,000 according to published reports, concluded today with no action taken on the bill. It was referred to the Finance Committee but never placed on an agenda. The sponsors therefore plan to donate their special session pay to local non-profits.
Delegate Rodney Miller (D, Boone) said he could not accept his pay in good conscience when he felt like the special session was a waste of money, so he donated it back to the community.
“I'm happy to join my colleagues in doing the responsible thing in order to do good things in our communities."
Delegate Scott Brewer (D, Mason) felt this was the right thing to do. “I’ve decided to donate my pay to senior citizens centers in each of the three counties of the 13th district—Mason, Jackson, & Putnam.” Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D, Monongalia) believes the timing is critical.
“Our ability to help those who are less fortunate has diminished because of the impasse we were unable to bridge. I plan on donating my pay to organizations that are providing a helping hand.”
Sponsors of the bill include Stephen Baldwin, Mick Bates, Rodney Miller, Scott Brewer, Shirley Love, Andrew Robinson, Shawn Fluharty, Tim Miley, Barbara Fleischauer, Justin Marcum, and Bill Hartman.
“This is a common sense issue,” Baldwin said. “We thank all those from both parties who are donating their salaries as a sign of goodwill and would appreciate their support of the bill next year.”