The Senate concurred with the House’s amendments to double, not triple, the salaries for final passage Monday (June 16) by the minimum 20 votes required to advance it to Jindal. The governor has said he will allow it to become law without his signature.
State senators narrowly passed the measure in its first round of debate Tuesday, June 10 by getting only 20 votes to progress the bill to the House. On Friday, June 13, state representatives voted 56-43 in favor of the pay raise, but not before reducing the raise by one-third.
“Talking to a lot of people in the district, they thought that we didn’t deserve a pay raise,” Hebert said of his decision. “I don’t go to Baton Rouge to vote how Troy Hebert wants. I vote how my constituents want.”
Mills said he was listening to his constituents, as well. Mills and 13 other Acadiana delegation core members voted against the raise, even with the House’s reduction.
Though the measure passed Acadiana legislators have chosen a benevolent way to spend the extra funds. They have rallied together and decided to redirect their pay raises into a foundation that will retain the money within Acadiana
“We are taking this increase and giving it back to the public,” Mills said.
Senate Bill 672, sponsored by Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, would bump Louisiana legislators The cost of the raises would apparently be absorbed within each chambers’ operating budgets.
Annual base salaries for legislators currently top off at $16,800, with high ranking legislators raking in more. In addition, they all receive a $6,000 unvouchered expense allowance and $143 per diem.
Speaker of the House Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, who said he will donate his raise to charity, has offered the representatives the option of waiving the raise completely. The legislators had until close-of-business Tuesday to make that decision.
The House had previously cut millions of dollars from the state’s health care and education coffers earlier in the 2008 regular session, which is one cause of argument against the bill.
Jindal said last Wednesday, if the bill does pass in the House and reaches his desk he would not veto it. Seemingly, he will let the bills become law without his signature.
Though he has previously voiced opposition to the pay raise, he said he does not want legislators to shoot down bills that he wants passed before the close of the 2008 regular session on June 23.