/Legislator pay raise bill dies quiet death

Legislator pay raise bill dies quiet death

Last week, the Senate passed a bill giving lawmakers a $6,000 pay bump for the first year of their four-year term and $4,500 per year for the remaining three years. Some House members expressed an interest in a pay increase for lawmakers and were waiting for the Senate bill to arrive in the House. However, Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville) held it on a motion for reconsideration. Most bills are tabbed pro forma. McDaniel’s request to reconsider was denied in Senate Bill 2794. The bill died on Monday, the deadline for clearing such procedural motions. McDaniel stated that he believes the legislative leaders were so criticized for proposing the increase in pay that they simply let it go. McDaniel stated, “The word that I have used for it” was embarrassing. “Politicians do not deserve a pay raise. We all know the pay when we run for office…. I think the delay in (motion to reconsider), allowing people to make phone calls, send emails, and push back against it, allowed Mississippi’s part time legislators to be paid a base salary of $23,500 per year, although most earn between $40,000 to $50,000 per year in salary, reimbursements, and other payments. The total compensation of some lawmakers is approximately $70,000 per year. The $23,500 salary includes a $10,000 base salary and $1,500 per month for expenses related to office work during the absence of the Legislature. This is despite the fact most legislators have other jobs and do not have separate legislative offices. Many depend on Capitol staffers for administrative support year round. The $1,500 per month office payment is not available to lawmakers when the Legislature meets. The Legislature usually meets for four months in the first year, and then it meets three times each of the next three years. Senate Bill 2794 would have provided $1,500 to lawmakers in the months that the Legislature is not in session. For each day that they spend in Jackson, lawmakers receive $150 per diem (living expenses) and mileage reimbursement at the current federal rate of 58 cents per mile. Each member is allowed to spend at least four days at the Capitol each month, while vice chairs are permitted to stay for six and vice chairs five days. Additional days must be approved.