SD lawmakers want 70 percent raise
The Legislature’s Executive Board decided Monday to ask voters to raise salaries for themselves and their successors.
They currently receive $6,000.
The pay would instead become an amount equal to 20 percent of state household income.
That would be more than $10,000 if it currently was in effect, Jason Hancock told the lawmakers. He is executive director for the Legislative Research Council.
To accomplish the change, voters must amend the South Dakota Constitution.
Voters in 1946 changed the constitution and put legislators in charge of their salaries.
Seventy-two years later, legislators now want to give away that power.
The roll call Monday unanimously supported introducing a resolution in the 2018 session for a constitutional amendment.
The next steps are the House of Representatives and the Senate approving the proposal.
Then the decision would be up to South Dakota’s voters next November.
Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, brought the issue to the board Monday. As speaker of the House he presides over the 70-member chamber.
Mickelson is the current chairman of the board. He contended Monday that self-employed people and retirees dominate the Legislature.
Mickelson asked each member of the board to comment.
Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, called for the board’s recommendation of Mickelson’s proposal.
Greenfield is the board vice chairman. As Senate president pro tem, Greenfield is the No. 2 officer in the 35-member chamber, below the lieutenant governor.
Sen. Jeff Partridge, R-Rapid City, seconded Greenfield’s motion.
The board represents the two chambers on administrative matters and policy decisions.
Senators voting for the proposal were Republicans Kris Langer of Dell Rapids, Jim Stalzer of Sioux Falls, Jim Bolin of Canton, Partridge and Greenfield.
Representatives voting for it were House Democratic leader Spencer Hawley of Brookings and Republicans Steven Haugaard of Sioux Falls, Craig Tieszen of Rapid City, Mike Stevens of Yankton, Tim Reed of Brookings, Spencer Gosch of Glenham and Mickelson.
Missing from the roll call were Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton, Senate Republican leader Blake Curd and House Republican leader Lee Qualm.
“It’s a run-away. It’s a run-away,” Mickelson proclaimed.