Do South Dakota Legislators deserve a raise?

If you were asking me that question as their direct employer, I would answer ‘NO’ and probably fire about 90% of them based on job performance.

But let’s play along and pretend they actually get things done.

I would be OK with a 3-5% raise, but not 70%.

It really is our legislators fault they haven’t implemented some kind of system to give themselves automatic raise/decline each year, not the voters. To blatantly ask for a 70% raise at one time is ridiculous.

I have even argued that $6,000 a year is pretty good (they also receive per diem, mileage) and if they are smart they would receive 3 FREE squares a day from the different lobbyist groups.

You have to realize, for the average representative this is only about 40 days. $150 a day is probably around the average individual salary in SD ($39K).

Also, part of the problem is the location of the Capital. A lot of people who have regular day jobs struggle to participate because you have to venture to bum-f’ck Pierre in the middle of winter. Embracing a little technology would go a long way. It reminds me of when Rounds had a fleet of airplanes at his disposal and people wondered why he had to be at meetings in person and didn’t do more teleconferencing. I think the legislature should extend the session to 60 days. I also don’t think they should start business until 3 PM Mountain time and work until 9 or 10 PM. This would only work if legislators with no leadership or committee duties could vote and follow along with the session VIA the internet on a closed circuit channel and could also debate the issues VIA their cell phones. It would get more working class legislators involved, save the state buckets of money and most importantly working class voters could watch and follow the sessions at night if they wanted to. This 40 days in the dead of winter in the middle of nowhere is why our legislature gets away with practically murder each year. Nobody is watching the ruling class of businessmen that make up our legislature, that’s the real issue, not pay. Ironically the ‘night’ sessions would solve another problem Pierre has, the nightly drinking and sniffing around.

The legislature should get a raise, but they need to be logical about it, something that is lacking in Pierre.


#1 Emoluments Clause on 11.13.17 at 12:02 pm

I think it is important that the pay for legislators is such, that potentially working and middle class citizens can then afford to run for the legislature – and such a significant pay raise would do much to achieve that goal.

Now, many might say that very few WC or MC people ever make it to the legislature, but why make that reality any more difficult for them?

In addition to the proposed pay raise, I recommend that all legislators who have a AGI of three times or greater the median income of households in our state should only be paid a dollar per legislative month plus per diem, however…. It’s only fair, since they are often the true members of our “House of Lords Legislature.”

#2 Warren Phear on 11.13.17 at 12:46 pm

South Dakota’s 105 legislators currently make $18.75 an hour plus per diem, and mileage. (Curious to know what those amounts are.) $18.75 is about $3.00 an hour more than the Sioux Falls median income. Tying this to median household income is wrong. Household income is vastly dominated by two incomes, not one.

Also, the one thing these legislators know well is gerrymandering. This state is only 46% republican, yet they hold down 85 of the 105 seats.

#3 Warren Phear on 11.13.17 at 6:09 pm

Per Diem is $142 per legislative day, and mileage is $.42 a mile. On top of $150 a day salary…not a bad gig for merely doing what lobbyists tell them to do.

#4 Say What? on 11.13.17 at 7:07 pm

Let’s look back and digest the benefits we received…specifically the total disrespect of the democratic process. Didn’t this same “legislative body” just totally disregard the direct vote of the majority of the people of this state (i.e. ethics, etc.) …and, now, you want to give them a raise?
Totally SD politics…sure…they’ve earned it!

#5 Say What? on 11.13.17 at 7:11 pm

Until such time we (the people) can get they (the corporations and big money) out of politics…this is what you get. If they can agree to the pay without political pocket lining, I’m all for it.

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