Lawmakers Want Voters To Decide On Pay Increase

Nov 13, 2017

Credit Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

South Dakota legislators are asking voters for a pay raise.

A legislative committee passed a resolution Monday that if passed through the legislature, would put a pay raise question on the ballot.

Lawmakers receive $6,000 a year. They currently have authority to set their own salary. Nineteen ninety eight was the last year lawmakers adjusted their salary.

Republican state representative Mark Mickelson is Speaker of the House. He says legislator compensation is low enough that it discourages many from running for office.

“If you’re not going to pay the folks very much, then you’re going to limit the pool of people who can serve to those that are retired or self-employed,” Mickelson says.

The resolution removes legislators’ ability to set their own salary. If passed, it sets the base pay at 20 percent of the medium household income in the state.

That means law makers would receive $10,191 a year.

Some lawmakers express concern about raising pay during an election year.