Legislators spar over how they should be paid for special session

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The political back and forth was well underway on the second day of the General Assembly’s Special Session with Republicans and Democrats split over how they should get paid.

Tuesday, the House of Delegates passed a resolution about the per diem for the Special Session. It went over the process of how the stipend would work in a virtual session, it did not establish an amount. But House Republicans say it’s wrong to accept the stipend if they’re working virtually.

“I think it is a gross abuse of taxpayer money and it’s exactly the type of action that makes people distrustful of government in general,” Del. Jason Miyares (R).

House Minority Leader Delegate Todd Gilbert sent a letter Wednesday afternoon saying the 44 House Republicans will not accept a stipend if they do not travel for a virtual session.

House Democrats fired back late Wednesday afternoon saying there will not be a traveling stipend for those working from home.

Democrats also saying both members of their party and Republicans have been accepting a per diem for months; since March, delegates have been paid $300 a day if they attend a virtual meeting, $400 each day they attend one meeting in the morning and one in the afternoon.

“Those of you that are upset about it, you’re free to return the money to the treasury, I’m sure the clerk would be happy to take it back,” said Del. Marcus Simon (D).

A reminder, that being a legislator is considered a part-time position in the Commonwealth. Members of the House of Delegates and the State Senate make a yearly salary of less $20,000, then they make a per diem amount.

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