Delegate Stephen Baldwin introduced a bill to during last week’s special session to limit legislator pay. Special sessions of the legislature are only necessary for very specific purposes, such as has been the case the last few years when they failed to pass a budget during the regular session. Last year, the special session cost $600,000.
Arguing special session costs are a waste of money, Baldwin explained, “I don’t think legislators should get paid twice when they failed to do the job right the first time.” He also said he was tired of hearing arguments about whose fault the special session was and how much it was costing.
In his speech on the floor, he told the House, “I want to take this issue off the table right now so we can stop arguing about who is to blame for these costs and start focusing on the real issue – passing a budget.”
House leadership referred Baldwin’s bill to the Finance Committee, where it currently sits. There is no indication as to if or when it will be taken up for a vote.
“If I don’t see any movement by the end of next week, you can bet I’ll raise the issue again,” Baldwin said of the timing related to his bill moving forward. “There’s no sense in wasting money like this. We got elected to do a job, and we need to do it. With so much uncertainty about the budget, people are worried. We need to focus on solving that problem. Period.”
The legislature is currently recessing from the special session for budget negotiations. They reconvene next week on May 15.
Baldwin represents District 42 including Greenbrier, Monroe and Summers counties.