Some Montana Representatives call for a pay raise - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Some Montana Representatives call for a pay raise

Posted: Updated:

A couple of Montana legislators are calling for their pay to increase substantially. Right now, Montana lawmakers make about $90 for every day spent in session. That makes them some of the lowest paid legislators in the entire country.

Members of both sides of the aisle are calling for the raise, but not everyone has thrown their support behind it.

Senator Mary Caferro of Helena is about to serve her 8th legislative term. She told our Bliss Zechman that while she understands why some are rooting for the raise, she just can't justify it.

Senate President Scott Sales, a republican, and House Minority Leader Jenny Eck, a democrat, think Montana lawmakers deserve a pay raise. A recording from a Legislative Council Meeting that happened in Lewistown on August 23 shows both believe they are underpaid. Caferro politely disagrees.

"It has nothing to do with whether we deserve it or not. Legislators, they put their whole lives on hold to come to Helena for four months to serve their constituents," said Caferro.  

Lawmakers in neighboring states, like Wyoming and South Dakota, make about $150 per day. However, Wyoming meets about 60 days total over two years while South Dakota meets every year for about 40 days. The proposed increase would roughly match what those legislators make. 

"I’m sure I’m pretty far in the minority, but it doesn't bother me. I think comparing ourselves to other states i think is sometimes comparing apples to oranges," said Caferro.

On top of that, Caferro says it's hard to justify a raise after the recent budget cuts. 

"We have other things to take care of first.. Other needs that are much more important than my wage."

Caferro, like many other state legislators, holds a separate full time job.  Even so, she  says being a lawmaker has its benefits. They're covered by extensive health insurance year-round. While in session, they get per diem pay, which covers everyday expenses like room and board. Plus, legislators can access a retirement plan.

"Its a great  benefit. We're very lucky," said Caferro.  

Neither Eck nor Sales would be serving when the proposed increase were to take effect. However, Caferro says she would likely benefit. If passed in the upcoming session, the increase would take effect in 20-21.

We reached out to both Representative Eck and Senator Sales, but neither have gotten back to us yet.
 

  • Most Popular

  • Vandal leaves his mark on 25 Helena Walking Mall spots

    Vandal leaves his mark on 25 Helena Walking Mall spots

    Tuesday, December 5 2017 7:16 PM EST2017-12-06 00:16:56 GMT
    Monday, January 8 2018 7:48 PM EST2018-01-09 00:48:57 GMT

    HELENA, Mont.- Vandalism is running rampant throughout the Helena Walking Mall. So far, 25 different spots have been hit, including a piece of history. The yellow, 1800s era trolly car is one of the most notable victims. The graffiti first made its appearance on Friday. The vandal has continued to add to the mess since then. The same black spray painted message, which appears to say "*ASPECT*", is on everything from the trolly to brick walls to murals. "The big thing ...

    HELENA, Mont.- Vandalism is running rampant throughout the Helena Walking Mall. So far, 25 different spots have been hit, including a piece of history. The yellow, 1800s era trolly car is one of the most notable victims. The graffiti first made its appearance on Friday. The vandal has continued to add to the mess since then. The same black spray painted message, which appears to say "*ASPECT*", is on everything from the trolly to brick walls to murals. "The big thing ...

  • Deer removal cuts down potential collisions

    Deer removal cuts down potential collisions

    Friday, November 9 2018 6:45 PM EST2018-11-09 23:45:07 GMT
    Friday, November 9 2018 6:45 PM EST2018-11-09 23:45:07 GMT
    For the past decade, the Helena Police Department has cut down the number of potential accidents in a unique way. HPD is tasked with removing deer from the city, and they're working to continue that cause. Starting December 1, HPD will begin its annual task of trapping and removing hundreds of the hazardous creatures. This season, they've been advised by Fish, Wildlife and Parks to remove about 200 deer. Since the department started the effort in 2008, they've taken in more than 1...
    For the past decade, the Helena Police Department has cut down the number of potential accidents in a unique way. HPD is tasked with removing deer from the city, and they're working to continue that cause. Starting December 1, HPD will begin its annual task of trapping and removing hundreds of the hazardous creatures. This season, they've been advised by Fish, Wildlife and Parks to remove about 200 deer. Since the department started the effort in 2008, they've taken in more than 1...
  • Hotline Helps Struggling Veterans

    Hotline Helps Struggling Veterans

    Friday, November 9 2018 6:38 PM EST2018-11-09 23:38:55 GMT
    Friday, November 9 2018 6:38 PM EST2018-11-09 23:38:55 GMT
    It's a statistic many Montanans are all too familiar with, our state has the highest rate of suicide in the nation. However, thanks to a new program, those struggling in our communities now have easier access to help. Montanans in the western part of our state will now be able to access the 211 hotline. The program is a support call line made for veterans, but everyone in the community will be able to utilize the services. The new number is not a crisis line, but rather helps peo...
    It's a statistic many Montanans are all too familiar with, our state has the highest rate of suicide in the nation. However, thanks to a new program, those struggling in our communities now have easier access to help. Montanans in the western part of our state will now be able to access the 211 hotline. The program is a support call line made for veterans, but everyone in the community will be able to utilize the services. The new number is not a crisis line, but rather helps peo...
  • HPD on the lookout for "drifting" drivers

    HPD on the lookout for "drifting" drivers

    Thursday, November 8 2018 8:11 PM EST2018-11-09 01:11:33 GMT
    Thursday, November 8 2018 8:11 PM EST2018-11-09 01:11:33 GMT
    As snow and ice sets on the pavement, some folks might feel inclined to test their tires and drift in parking lots. While doing donuts may simply sound like fun, it’s actually very illegal. In fact, the Helena Police Department is currently looking for the driver of a car who was spinning circles in the Murdoch’s parking lot. They were caught on camera causing damage to several of the ranch and home supply store's snow blowers . HPD has not caught the culprits yet, bu...
    As snow and ice sets on the pavement, some folks might feel inclined to test their tires and drift in parking lots. While doing donuts may simply sound like fun, it’s actually very illegal. In fact, the Helena Police Department is currently looking for the driver of a car who was spinning circles in the Murdoch’s parking lot. They were caught on camera causing damage to several of the ranch and home supply store's snow blowers . HPD has not caught the culprits yet, bu...
Powered by Frankly
Copyright - All content © 2001 - 2018. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.