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Virginia House agrees to forfeit overtime pay; Senate to accept pay

House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R) decided that now is not the time to be paid for overtime. So, as the General Assembly prepares to go a day more than its regularly scheduled 60-day session, Griffith proposed -- and the Republican-led House unanimously passed -- HJ40 stating that members would not receive per diem for the extra day.

Left unsaid was the obvious: When lawmakers were whacking $4 billion from state spending, forcing the layoffs of teachers and other public employees, it would not look good to have the state pick up the tab for legislators' meals and hotel rooms in Richmond because they failed to meet a deadline.

But Griffith also hinted that senators in the Democratic-controlled chamber at the other end of the state Capitol did want per diems -- a revelation that elicited whistles among the delegates.

And now, over to the Senate ...

-- Fredrick Kunkle

UPDATE: Senators, who already receive a higher per diem than delegates ($169 a day to the House's $135) will be accepting their pay tomorrow.

"Of course," said Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax). "Why not? We're here in session."

Count on the House to rib the senators for their decision to accept the additional day's pay at a time when lawmakers are finishing work on a budget that cuts deeply into all areas of state government. After all, if lawmakers had concluded their work on schedule, this would not be an issue. But Saslaw noted that legislators were facing the worst budget outlook of their terms in office and said solving the budget in 61 days would be an accomplishment.

By Multiplatform Editor  |  March 13, 2010; 3:31 PM ET
 
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