Bill to increase state judges pay fails

By Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  The bill to increase the state's 150 judge's pay by 38% failed Thursday.

The House of Representatives fell a dozen votes short of passing legislation that would have given judges a pay increase.

The salary bump would have been paid for by filing fee increases up to $40. The state's Chief Justice, Bill Waller, Jr. is the lowest paid justice in the United States with a salary of $115,00.

Associate judges would have seen a hike from $105,000 to $144,000. Senator Joey Fillingane says those who are against the bill should take into consideration that judges only get raises every few years.

"People say wow, that is a really large pay increase , but if you look at the time frame that that pay increase has got to cover nearly twenty years. If you just do a two percent  cost of living adjustment over a twenty year period that is a 40 percent pay differential. So, once you spread it out it doesn't look nearly as big as it does when you just looking at it on paper," said Fillingane.

Lawmakers say wages that have not kept pace with surrounding states have created recruitment challenges.