Government, State Government, West Virginia Legislature

A look at 2021 compensation for local legislators

MORGANTOWN — The July special session to take up tax cut and abortion law legislation paused after five days, failing to achieve its aims.

Many complained about wasted money — $35,000 per day, with something over $20,000 of that going to legislator pay.

The complaints prompted us to take one of our periodic looks at legislator salaries. So here is a look at the 2021 pay (the latest full year available, posted at the state auditor’s transparency website) for local legislators, followed by an explanation of how they’re compensated.

State Senate

13th District

Sens. Bob Beach, Monongalia, and Mike Caputo, Marion, are the only Democrats among the six local senators.

In 2021, Beach received $22,422 and Caputo received $25,450.

14th District

Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, chairs the Energy Committee and co-chairs the joint interim Energy and Water Resources committees. He received $22,272.

Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, is Agriculture chair, Finance vice chair and co-chair of the interim joint Agriculture, VFD/EMS and Rule Making Review interim committees. He received $25,016.

2nd District

Sen. Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, chairs Transportation and co-chairs the joint interim Infrastructure, Transportation Accountability, Mine Reclamation and Regional Jail committees. He earned $23,539.

Sen Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, chairs Health and co-chairs the joint interim Health Committee. He earned $21,289.

House of Delegates

51st District

All five delegates represent Monongalia County. Joe Statler is the sole Republican. Democrats Barbara Evans Fleischauer, Evan Hansen, Danielle Walker and John Williams serve in the other four seats.

Statler chairs the Fire Department/EMS Committee and the joint VFD/EMS interim committee. He received $25,724.

Fleischauer is minority chair of the Veterans Affairs half of the Veterans Affairs & Homeland Security Committee and minority chair of interim Rule Making Review. She earned $22,961.

Hansen is minority chair of the Natural Resources half of Agriculture & Natural Resources. He received $22,844.

Walker is minority chair of the Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Committee and minority vice chair of Health. She received $22,511.

Williams is minority chair of Political Subdivisions and minority vice chair of Banking & Insurance. He earned $22,100.

50th District

Democrat Joey Garcia and Republicans Phil Mallow and Guy Ward all represent Marion County.

Garcia is minority vice chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure and Workforce Development committees. He earned $22,627.

Mallow earned $22,244.

Ward co-chairs the interim Equal Pay Commission. He received $21,978.

Other districts

Dave Pethtel, 5th District, D-Wetzel, is minority chair of Fire Departments/EMS and minority vice chair of the joint interim Energy Committee. He earned $22,894.

Amy Summer, 49th District, R-Taylor, is House majority leader and vice chair of the Rules Committee. She received $27,958.20.

Terri Sypolt, 52nd District, R-Preston, is vice chair of Senior, Children & Family Issues. She earned $22,517.

Buck Jennings, 53rd District, R-Preston, chairs the Homeland Security half of Veterans Affairs & Homeland Security. He earned $21,999.

How pay is calculated

Legislator compensation is spelled out in state code.

Basic salary is $20,000 per year. Each legislator also receives $150 per day for extended or special sessions.

The Senate president and House speaker receive $150 per day served during a regular, special or extended session, and $150 per day when attending to legislative business any other time.

The majority and minority leaders get $50 per day served during regular, special and extended sessions.

The Finance and Judiciary chairs, along with up to six others specified by the president or speaker, get $150 per day for up to 30 days when attending to business outside of session or interim meeting dates.

During interim meetings members also get extra pay. Each member gets $150 per day, up to $4,500 per year. They can get another $150 per day for committee meetings outside of scheduled interims.

Legislators also get reimbursed for travel by submitting expense vouchers.

During sessions and interims, legislators who don’t commute receive $131 per day — which can cover hotels and meals. Those who live close enough to commute daily receive $55 per day and are reimbursed for any overnight commuting expenses at the Department of Administration’s set rate. A commuter’s reimbursement may not exceed $131 per day.

The president, speaker, Finance and Judiciary chairs, and up to six other designees in each chamber receive work-related reimbursement at the set rate year-round.

Members are also reimbursed for out-of-state travel for legislative business, at the set travel rate plus actual housing expenses, and meals and miscellaneous expenses not exceeding $55 per day.

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp