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Pay Hikes Approved

January 31, 2001
By: Maggie Rotermund
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers can give themselves pay raises for the next two years that would exceed five percent per year.

By a voice vote late Wednesday afternoon, the Senate effectively has allowed to go into effect a pay-increase schedule for Elected Officials for legislators, statewide officials and judges.

The pay-increase plan had been adopted by the Citizens' Commission on Compensation

Under Missouri's constitution, the plan takes effect unless rejected by a majority vote of both the House and Senate.

Wednesday midnight was the deadline for legislative action. So, with legislative failure to pass the resolution, the two-year pay schedules are now effect -- depending on how much of the increase the legislature decides to fund in the appropriations bills later this year.

Under the plan, the current $31,246 salary of a legislator could rise by as much as about $3,500 during the next two years.

Earlier in the day, the House had passed 147-7 a resolution to reject the salary schedules recommended by the Citizens Commission on Compensation.

When the resolution came to the Senate with just hours before the deadline, Sen. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, made a substitute motion to reject the House version of the resolution and request a conference committee to work out differences between the two chambers.

Since the House had adjourned for the day, voice-vote approval of Jacob's motion effectively killed a legislative veto.

And without a roll-call vote, there is no record of who voted for or against the pay hikes.

Jacob stressed, however, that the salary plan was still subject to the appropriations bill that could eliminate or reduce the raises.

"By our failure to vote, we set in motion salary schedules, not salary increases," Jacob said.

Also arguing to let the salary plan take effect was Sen. John Schneider, D-St. Louis County. "I will do anything to prevent the Senate from being embarrassed by passing this piece of trash," Schneider said before crumpling up a copy of the resolution.

The issue made for an historical oddity -- two legislators voting twice on the same issue in two different chambers on the same day.

In the morning, Reps. David Klindt, R-Bethany, and Pat Dougherty, D-St. Louis, voted in the House on the resolution.

Both had been elected to the Senate in the Jan. 24 special elections. And both were sworn into office in mid-afternoon -- allowing them to cast their voice votes in the Senate on the resolution.