Louisiana lawmakers voting on pay raise

Published 12:15 am Sunday, June 15, 2008

VIDALIA — The Louisiana House of Representatives voted Friday to compromise on a bill that would have tripled the salaries for legislators and would have allowed for automatic adjustments in years to come.

As originally drafted, Senate Bill 672 would have set the base pay for state legislators at one-third of whatever members of the U.S. Congress make. The bill passed the senate, but by the time it left the house Friday it had been amended to set legislators’ base salary at $37,500 a year.

The base salary for legislators is currently $16,800 a year.

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District 21 Representative John F. “Andy” Anders voted in favor of the amended bill, which passed 56-43. Anders could not be reached for comment.

The amended pay raise proposal will now go to the senate for approval.

Gov. Bobby Jindal can either veto the pay raise, sign it or not sign it and it will automatically become law without his official approval.

For District 32 Senator Neil Riser, the pay raise wasn’t even an option.

“I never entertained the thought of a pay raise,” Riser said.

“ I knew what the job paid when I took it.”

But the deciding factor for Riser was his constituency.

“The people of my district were unanimously opposed to it,” Riser said.

District 34 Senator Francis Thompson, who voted for the original measure when it was presented the senate, could not be reached for comment.

If it becomes law, the proposed pay change will begin July 1.