CHAPTER 4. THE LEGISLATURE.

§4-2C-3. Judicial Compensation Commission reports and recommendations; legislative action.

(a) During any time it is convened, the commission shall study the compensation structure for justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit court judges, family court judges, magistrates and any other judicial officer subject to election and which office requires the judge to hold a professional license to serve in that position for purposes of making a recommendation concerning appropriate compensation for those judicial officers.

(b) In recommending the appropriate salaries of the state’s judicial officers, the commission shall consider the following factors:

(1) The skill and experience required of the particular judgeship at issue;

(2) The value of comparable service performed by justices and judges, as determined by reference to judicial compensation in other states and in the federal government;

(3) The value of comparable service performed in the private sector including, but not limited to, private judging, arbitration, and mediation;

(4) The compensation of attorneys in the private sector;

(5) The cost of living;

(6) The compensation presently received by other public officials in the state;

(7) The level of overall compensation adequate to attract the most highly qualified individuals in the state, from a diversity of life and professional experiences, to serve the judiciary without unreasonable hardship and with judicial independence unaffected by financial concerns; and

(8) Any other information the commission may find relevant in its mission to determine the appropriate compensation for the state’s judicial officers.

(c) The commission shall prepare and submit its first report containing its recommendations no later than September 1, 2017. The commission shall then prepare and submit subsequent reports on or before September 1 of each year thereafter, except during those years that the commission is adjourned pursuant to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section.

(d) The commission shall send a copy of its recommendations to the Governor, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Administrative Director of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

(e) In the immediate legislative session following the year in which a recommendation is received from the commission, a bill adopting the salary recommendations made by the commission may be introduced by the presiding officer in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.

(f) The commission shall continue to meet and prepare updated recommendations in accordance with the following schedule:

(1) If the bill introduced pursuant to subsection (e) of this section is enacted adopting the complete recommendations of the commission, the commission shall then be adjourned for three years from the effective date of the increase.

(2) If the bill introduced pursuant to subsection (e) of this section is not enacted or, if that bill is enacted, but adopts salaries less than those which were recommended by the commission, the commission shall continue to meet annually to prepare updated recommendations to provide to the parties identified in subsection (d) of this section.