Voters May Consider Pay Increase For State Lawmakers

A South Dakota legislative panel has endorsed a measure that would ask voters to give lawmakers a pay raise.  The Executive Board voted Monday to advance a plan that would link legislator’s pay to the state’s median household income.  Jason Hancock of the Legislative Research Council briefed the board on what other states do regarding legislative salaries.

The proposal would ask voters to amend the state constitution to make the change, removing lawmakers’ ability to set their own pay.  State lawmakers are paid $6,000 per session plus a per diem allowance. The measure would set legislators’ salaries at one-fifth of the median income.  House Speaker Mark Mickelson says low salaries limit who can serve in the legislature.

Representative Tim Reed echoed that concern.

U.S. Census numbers for 2015 show the increase would mean a raise of 70 percent for the state’s 105 lawmakers to nearly $10,200.