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Jurors to get more per day starting in July

Senate wanted $100, but agreed when House of Delegates insisted on $50

It’s not quite the bump up some legislators wanted, but jurors in Virginia legal cases will be getting more for their services starting in July.

After some wrangling between the two houses, members of the General Assembly settled on an increase from the current $30 to $50 per day as reimbursement to members of juries, sending that measure to Gov. Youngkin’s desk.

A majority of the state Senate had wanted a $100-per-day reimbursement for jurors, while the House of Delegates insisted on $50. A conference committee comprised of members of both bodies recommended going with $50, which both houses agreed to.

The change will take effect with the start of the state government’s new fiscal year on July 1.

Paul Ferguson, who is clerk of the Circuit Court for Arlington and Falls Church, said the $20 increase was less than he might have liked, but better than nothing.

“I appreciate that the General Assembly passed this,” Ferguson told the GazetteLeader. “Fifty dollars should at least cover expenses that jurors might incur: lunch, Metro fare, parking, bicycle maintenance, etc. “

Next up for Ferguson (assuming he seeks and wins re-election this year): Convincing the General Assembly to require employers to pay workers for time away spent on jury duty.

“Most employers pay their employees when serving jury duty and don’t make them take vacation time; however, many do not,” he said. “I would like to see a law that requires employers to pay their employees without charging vacation leave when serving jury duty.” (He added that jury duty can be especially difficult for those self-employed.)

Despite the financial hardship or inconvenience that some jurors face, “almost all Arlington/Falls Church jurors realize that jury duty is one of our important responsibilities as citizens, and many are even enthusiastic about serving,” Ferguson said.

Also getting a bump up in pay are retired justices or judges of the Virginia judicial system, who if recalled to work cases will, starting in July, receive $400 a day, up from $200.

The same will be true of those previously serving on the State Corporation Commission and Workers’ Compensation Commission, who also will see pay rates rise from $200 to $400 if called back into service.