Lawmaker Panel Declines to Take Action on Pay Raise Bill

Bill would have tied legislative pay in 2019 and beyond to the state's average weekly wage

By Dillon Tabish

HELENA — A panel of Montana lawmakers will leave it to incoming legislative leaders to decide if they want to push for a pay raise.

The Legislative Council on Tuesday took no action a bill that would have tied legislative pay in 2019 and beyond to the state’s average weekly wage used to determine unemployment benefits.

Under the 2017 average weekly wage, that would have meant an 82 percent pay raise for lawmakers who made $10.33 an hour during the 2015 legislative session.

Democratic Rep. Bryce Bennett of Missoula said in the meeting that he favored approving the bill for consideration during the legislative session. He says he is proud of the work the council put into creating a thoughtful pay strategy.

Senate Minority Leader John Sesso, however, said the 2017 legislative leaders must lead the charge.

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