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Md. House approves judicial pay raise; attention shifts to Senate

The judge's bench in a courtroom in Carroll County Circuit Court. (File photo)

The judge’s bench in a courtroom in Carroll County Circuit Court. (File photo)

Maryland’s judges would receive their first salary increase in three years under a joint resolution approved Tuesday by the House of Delegates.

The House’s approval on a 105-31 vote sends the measure to the Senate, which has yet to consider the proposed judicial pay raise.

The House-passed resolution calls for judges to receive a $5,000 raise on July 1, the first day of fiscal year 2019. The judges would then receive annual raises of $5,000 the next three fiscal years for a total boost of $20,000 as of July 1, 2021.

The resolution, as amended by the House Appropriations Committee, reflects a lower pay raise than the Maryland Judicial Compensation Commission recommended in January. The commission had sought a $10,000 raise on July 1 and a total increase of $35,000 as of July 1, 2021.

House Joint Resolution 3 would boost the salary of the state’s top jurist – Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera – to $200,433 as of July 1. Court of Special Appeals Chief Judge Patrick L. Woodward’s salary would climb to $171,633 and John P. Morrissey, chief district court judge, would have a salary boost to $168,633.

The salary of Court of Appeals judges would rise to $181,433, and Court of Special Appeals judges’ pay would increase to $168,633.

Circuit court judges would receive $159,433, while a district court judge’s pay would increase to $146,333.

By comparison, Gov. Larry Hogan’s annual salary is $180,000. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch are paid $65,371 each.

At the end of the resolution’s four-year cycle, the Court of Appeals chief judge’s salary would be $215,433; the Court of Special Appeals chief judge would be paid $186,633; and the chief district court judge would get $183,633.

The salary of Court of Appeals judges would be $196,433; Court of Special Appeals judges would get $183,633; circuit court judges would receive $174,433; and district court judges would be paid $161,333.

Judicial Compensation Commission members are named by the governor, the leaders of the Senate and House, and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Elizabeth Buck chairs the commission. The other members are Norman Conway, Edward Gilliss, Van Mitchell, Alice Pinderhughes, Joshua Schmerling and John Suit II.

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