17 June 2008

Lawmakers Respond to Pay Raise Challenge

The Charleston Gazette reports that House and Senate leaders believe a citizen panel's recommendations of pay and per diem increases for lawmakers allow the resulting legislation to trump legal challenges raised by a pending lawsuit.

The Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission, "which is required to meet at least once every four years to recommend rates of compensation for the Legislature, proposed the increases in a resolution adopted on Jan. 9, 2007," The Gazette reports, citing the lawmakers' filed response. "That resolution gave the Legislature permission to make any or all of the pay increases effective immediately upon passage of the legislation, the response noted."

The article quotes the response as arguing that "The Legislature provided for increases of their compensation and expenses in a manner that does not exceed the recommendations of the commission, and did so by properly following the constitutional provisions."

Former state Sen. Russ Weeks, R-Raleigh and his party's nominee for governor this year, filed the Supreme Court petition.

Update: Manchin has also a responded to the lawsuit, The Gazette reports. A co-defendant, the governor asks to be dismissed from the case.

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