The lame-duck session of the legislature was so lame members couldn’t wait to lift their pay earlier than tackling necessary points dealing with Illinois. Just like the ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons and prolonged magazines.
Primarily Democratic lawmakers voted for a virtually 17% pay hike final Friday, whereas pushing the Defend Illinois Communities Act till Monday of this week. All Republican legislators and some Democrats didn’t rush to money in on the 2023 gold, however they’ll certainly settle for their now-inflated state checks.
Earlier than lastly approving the military-style gun ban, lawmakers additionally boosted the salaries of the governor, different statewide officers and the heads of state companies. As an alternative of “State Sovereignty, Nationwide Union” because the Illinois motto, maybe it ought to be modified to, “The place’s Mine?”
The pay raises enhance the annual wage of rank-and-file lawmakers to $85,000 from $72,906, in response to a Chicago Tribune story. That quantities to a $12,904 annual enhance in base pay for members of the Home and Senate.
Ask yourselves when’s the final time you noticed a 17% wage enhance in your jobs within the personal sector. By no means? One Home Republican known as the raises, “Christmas in January for legislators.”
That was some gall because the gun invoice stalled within the Senate. That befell whilst Lake County residents and lawmakers pressed for its adoption because the bloodbath on the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, the place the gunman used a military-style weapon to kill seven and wound 4 dozen.
It’s not just like the vote on the measure was a shock. There have been a number of legislative hearings on the subject.
Lake County and different governmental our bodies throughout Illinois have been in assist of elevated firearm regulation for years. Following the Highland Park tragedy, the Lake County Board made banning assault weapons a precedence within the county’s state and federal legislative agenda.
In contrast to his legislative colleagues, Gov. J.B. Pritzker took rapid motion after the gun invoice reached his desk on Tuesday. He eagerly signed it.
On high of their pay hike, most legislative members will get at the least $12,000 or extra as stipends for additional duties, like committee heads and per diem whereas the legislature is in session. The measure additionally creates two new management positions, which include further pay on high of their base wage, for legislative caucuses which have supermajorities. That might be at the moment and, for at the least the subsequent decade, Democrats.
Additionally getting elevated remuneration for public service are elected state officers, starting from 8% to 10%. The Senate authorized the plan Sunday evening on a 30-21 vote after it handed the Home late Friday — when lawmakers suppose nobody is watching — on a 63-35 vote.
Pritzker, who had requested legislators to extend the salaries of 21 appointed company heads, shortly signed the pay invoice. The governor’s wage now will increase to $205,700 from $190,700. Pritzker, a billionaire, doesn’t settle for his wage.
At the very least the governor commissioned a nationwide wage examine of jobs corresponding to these of his Cupboard. He stated the state’s pay schedule wants to remain aggressive with not solely the personal sector, however different states.
The legislative raises, by the way in which, come on high of a cost-of-living enhance for Home and Senate members that kicked in July 1. Appears like lawmakers who drew up their very own wage invoice simply threw some numbers collectively and got here with the pay hikes, which now rank as a number of the highest within the nation.
To be honest, the final elevate for legislators got here in 2008 till an annual cost-of-living adjustment was adopted a couple of years in the past. Nonetheless, the optics don’t look good. Lawmakers certainly hope their pay-grab utilizing taxpayer funds might be forgotten by voters after they search reelection in two or 4 years therefore.
“We don’t need a legislature that’s solely made up of the rich,” Home Majority Chief Greg Harris advised The Related Press. “We wish individuals who can run for workplace, serve their group, but additionally have the ability to pay for his or her household and children.”
Mentioned one other Chicago Dem, state Sen. Elgie Sims: “We’ve got a citizen legislature, and what we are attempting to verify we accomplish is we’ve got people who’re the very best and the brightest who’re serving right here.”
Good factors, besides the job of an Illinois legislator is taken into account part-time, though fairly a couple of contemplate it a full-time job. Many Home and Senate members, corresponding to attorneys, proceed to work full time and certainly are part-time lawmakers.
Perhaps with this newest pay enhance we’ll see fewer state legislators — these “finest and the brightest” Sen. Sims talks about — dealing with official corruption fees within the coming years.
Charles Selle is a former Information-Solar reporter, political editor and editor.