CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A House-Senate study group won't be recommending that West Virginia increase the ranks of its county magistrates. The joint Judiciary subcommittee refused to advance a draft bill Monday that sought to add five magistrates around the state. The draft initially proposed to give Monongalia County a fifth magistrate in the wake of population growth there. But the subcommittee amended the bill Monday to add a magistrate as well in Berkeley, Kanawha, Raleigh and Wood counties. The lawmakers then voted 6-4 against asking the full Judiciary Committee to consider recommending the amended bill during the upcoming regular session.
That vote came after legislators discussed the estimated $80,000 annual cost of each of West Virginia's 158 magistrates.