UPDATE: House passes conference report on pay raise bill

The West Virginia House has unanimously passed the conference report on House Bill 4145.

This is the bill that will provide a five percent pay raise for teachers, service personnel and state police. A pay raise for all other state employees will be built into the state budget.

The Senate still needs to approve the conference report from Tuesday before the bill is sent to Governor Jim Justice.

On Tuesday morning, the Governor announced that a deal had been reached to provide a five percent pay raise across the board for all state employees.

In their conference committee meeting, Senators receded their four percent bill to go with the five percent approved by the House.

The Governor and lawmakers have said they expect teachers and service personnel to return to the classroom Wednesday.

No statement has been made by union leaders on when school will resume.

Original Story
Senators and Delegates in the Conference Committee say West Virginia can expect them to suspend the rules Tuesday and pass the five percent pay raise bill.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate agreed to recede from their position and accept the House position to the 5 percent pay raise for teachers, service personnel and state police. The deal also includes a 5 percent pay raise across the board for all state employees. That will be added into the final budget.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said the Senate had a lot of concern going through the process with what was fiscally responsible. He says he believes this is the largest pay raise in West Virginia history.

Senator Blair says this 5 percent raise for all state employees will happen without increasing any taxes but there will be some pain because they will not be using any of the $58 million of the governor's revenue estimates.

He is encouraging superintendents, teachers, and service personnel to go back to work. He said it should be "in the quickest fashion possible for our students and the State of West Virginia."

Blair says to make this pay raise possible there will be a $20 million reduction in spending for State government. He says these funds will partly be taken out of Medicaid.

Sen. Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said in the Conference Committee Tuesday that while it has been a challenging road, he thinks the end product is something positive for everybody in the State.

Democratic members of the House of Delegates released a statement Tuesday, saying they are pleased that the Senate came around to their position.

"Teachers, school service personnel, state employees and their allies have made their voices heard the past 9 days," House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) stated. "House Democrats were pleased to rally with these educators, and we thank them for putting pressure on the Governor and the Legislature to act."

Students have been out of class since Wednesday, Feb. 21.

We have not gotten a statement yet from the union leaders.