West Virginia's legislative session coincides with hockey season, a sport in which the most important player is not the player who scores but the goalie who prevents the other team from scoring.
Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, ended up having to block the first bad bill of the session - a pay raise forwarded by Democrats in the House of Delegates.
Democrats in the House made giving magistrates a pay raise their top priority. They passed a pay raise for public employees - the first bill passed this year - by a vote of 53-45.
Republicans quite correctly made the point that this is not the year to be handing out pay raises that would cost $737,000 a year, as this bill proposes to do.
That $737,000 would come from a state that is cutting the budgets in many agencies by 7.5 percent next year.
In 10 years, magistrates have received more than $20,000 in raises - $3,000 in 2003, $10,000 in 2005, and $7,500 in 2011. As Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, pointed out, most West Virginians haven't.
Magistrates in counties with 8,400 people or more are now paid $57,500 a year. Magistrates in smaller counties receive $51,125.
This bill would raise all magistrates' pay to $57,500 a year.