By Matthew Young, RealWV
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Senate, on Friday, passed an amended version of HB 3135 – a bill which seeks to increase the salaries of the governor, as well as the state’s other constitutional office-holders at the beginning of the next elected term.
As explained by Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, the amendment, “Would remove the salaries in (W.Va.) code, and tie them to salary-schedules of the federal government which are periodically updated by the Office of Personnel Management.”
Tarr further explained that the governor’s current salary is $150,000 annually. In order to “fall in line” with the federal government’s salary-schedule, the governor’s salary would need to be increased to $177,978 per year.
“The other six officers all have a salary of $95,000,” Tarr continued. Those are the officers of the secretary of state, the attorney general, the secretary of agriculture, the secretary of transportation, the state auditor, and the state treasurer.
“This step would take it to $129,269,” Tarr added. “These salaries would be effective on January 1, 2025.”
As originally passed by the House of Delegates, and without the amendment, HB 3135 would increase the governor’s salary to $180,000, and increase the six constitutional officer’s salaries to $115,000.
Senators Tarr, Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha), Randy Smith (R-Tucker), Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell), Ryan Weld (R-Brooke), and Mike Stuart (R-Kanawha) all requested a ruling from Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, regarding their voting eligibility, as all expressed their intention to seek one of the seven impacted offices in the next election cycle.
“For every member in this chamber, if you’re running for a higher office [then] you’re a member of a class of 1.8 million people and you will be required to vote,” Blair responded.
The bill, as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of 25 to seven. Both senators Tarr and Nelson voted in favor of passage, while senators Smith, Woelfel, Weld and Stuart voted against. HB 3135 will now be returned to the House of Delegates for further consideration.
RealWV will provide updates regarding HB 3135 as additional information is made available.