- Kansas is ready to just about double state legislators’ pay initially of subsequent yr, elevating their compensation to just about $58,000.
- Legislative leaders, such because the House speaker and Senate president, are anticipated to make greater than $85,000 a yr.
- The pay enhance was facilitated via a bipartisan pay fee fairly than a direct legislative vote.
Kansas is ready to just about double state legislators’ pay initially of subsequent yr, making their compensation higher than it’s for his or her counterparts in a majority of states, together with extra populous ones like Georgia and Texas.
The enhance is sort of $28,000 a yr for rank-and-file legislators, boosting their complete compensation from $30,000 to just about $58,000, a rise of 93%. Legislative leaders get further funds due to their duties, and the House speaker and Senate president are set to make greater than $85,000 a yr, up from $44,000.
The pay enhance appeared to have bipartisan assist, although lawmakers by no means voted straight on it. Instead, they arrange a bipartisan pay fee final yr, with its proposal taking impact except each legislative chambers handed a decision rejecting it by Wednesday. An effort to pressure a debate within the Senate failed final week, and there was no such transfer within the House.
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Some Kansas legislators have complained for years that their annual compensation of $30,000 is not sufficient to stay on year-round, whereas their duties as lawmakers reduce into outdoors work and even forestall them from holding down different jobs. Supporters of the pay enhance say it’s more likely to make the Legislature extra numerous when it is at risk of turning into principally retirees and rich individuals.
“You might get a few more females,” stated state Sen. Cindy Holscher, a Kansas City-area Democrat. “You might get a few more minorities. You might get a few more younger people.”
Alaska lawmakers’ salaries rose by 67% initially of this yr, from $50,400 to $84,000, additionally as a result of legislators let a proposal from a pay fee stand. New Jersey legislators will see their pay enhance in 2026, additionally by 67%, from $49,000 to $82,000. New York lawmakers obtained a 29% increase initially of 2023, making their pay the very best within the nation at $142,000 a yr.
Most states pay a wage and provides their lawmakers more money every day to cowl bills in session, in response to National Conference of State Legislatures knowledge. New Hampshire’s wage is $100 a yr — the identical because it was in 1889, whereas New Mexico pays $202 to cowl lawmakers’ bills in session however no wage.
When Kansas grew to become a state in 1861, its structure stated lawmakers have been to obtain $3 a day in session, as much as $150. They didn’t get a increase for almost 90 years, with voters rejecting 5 proposals earlier than approving pay of $12 a day in 1948. In 1962, voters stated lawmakers’ pay may very well be set by state legislation.
The new determine, almost $58,000, consists of each a wage and each day, in-session funds to cowl bills similar to meals and housing.
“I think it’s fair,” stated House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican. “I think that the commission did, really, a pretty good job.”
Commission members argued that their sizeable pay enhance represented catching lawmakers’ compensation as much as a number of many years’ price of inflation. However, the proposal did draw not less than a couple of objections.
Sen. Rob Olson, a conservative Kansas City-area Republican, tried and failed final week to drag an anti-pay increase decision out of the Senate finances committee so senators might debate it on the ground. The effort fell brief as a result of a dozen of the 40 senators handed.
Senate President Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, noticed opposition to the pay increase as political grandstanding.
“It’s just kind of political theater,” he stated after final week’s vote.
The Senate finances committee did overview the pay proposal Tuesday throughout a brief listening to. Nicholas Reinecker, a central Kansas restaurant proprietor who makes seven to 10 journeys to Topeka a yr to advocate for legalizing hashish, needed to interrupt the its adjournment — after no motion — to get his opposition on document.
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He stated he desires Kansas to maintain its “citizen” Legislature, including that when lawmakers take their oaths of workplace, they promise to “sacrifice for God, family and country.”
“I’m sorry, it’s not supposed to be a job,” he informed the committee, predicting that the large pay increase might result in “entanglements” with skilled lobbyists.
Olson stated he doubts lawmakers’ constituents assist such an enormous pay increase and stated they need to have the braveness to debate it and vote on it.
And Rep. Ken Corbet, a Topeka Republican who operates a searching lodge, stated that in most companies, the boss units the pay, not the workers. And his boss — the taxpayers — have not informed him a pay increase is OK with them, he stated.
He had thought of proposing his personal anti-raise decision, however, “Apparently, there was not an appetite for that.”