SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Bill Introduced to Reject 67% Pay Raises for Legislators

Posted & Edited By MARY KAUFFMAN


March 27, 2023

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - Last week Senator Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) introduced Senate Bill 111 disapproving recommendations of the State Officers Compensation Commission to raise legislators’ salaries by 67%.
Gateway City Realty - Ketchikan, Alaska

The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Robb Myers (R-North Pole). The bill also offers an optional pay schedule for legislators for the current salary by allowing its disbursement over the first five months of the calendar year during the legislative session as an alternative to disbursement over twelve months. This provision was included in order to make it easier for Alaskans of working age to serve in the legislature.

Senator Hughes stated, “Not only is the Compensation Commission process flawed and fraught with conflict-of-interest issues due to legislators having the power to give themselves a raise by passively accepting the report, but such a large raise when we have a tremendous shortfall is unwarranted in this fiscal climate. We need to concentrate this session on putting the people’s fiscal house in order and making sure we start getting the most bang for our public buck when it comes to our schools and student learning.”

Senator Robert Myers added, “The legislature should not give itself a pay increase through such a shady process at a time when we can’t even agree on a policy to give us stability on the PFD and a long-term fiscal plan.” 

Following the failed adoption of a Sense of the Senate by Senator Hughes to reject legislator pay raises, Senator Myers attempted to accept the House invitation for a joint session to reject the pay raises but his motion was blocked by a vote by the Senate Majority.

SB 111 was issued after the Governor vetoed SB 86. SB 111 is meant to address the updated recommendation by the SOCC that also added an increase in legislators’ pay. This bill is still active as it has been submitted for committee hearing.

Under the plan earlier approved unanimously by the new State Officers Compensation Commission, Alaska legislators’ salaries would increase from $50,400 to $84,000 per year, matching half of the new salaries proposed for the heads of state agencies. That would be the first pay raise for legislators since 2010. SB 86 rejected these compensation commission's recommended pay increases with SB86 vetoed by the governor.

Alaska’s independent commission was established in 2008 in part so lawmakers would not need to vote to increase their own salaries.

A brief timeline:

  • In January, the State Officer Compensation Commission submitted a report which recommended salary increases for the Governor, Lt. Governor, and executive department heads; allowing 60 days for the legislature to reject its recommendation. 

  • On March 6, the Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 86, rejecting the compensation commission's recommended pay increases. 

  • Early mid-March, the Governor replaced all members of the commission, and the new commission voted to amend the report to include legislative pay raises, at which point the governor vetoed SB 86 giving the legislature until March 25 to override the veto.

Legislative Legal Services has advised legislators that in light of these unprecedented actions of the State Officer Compensation Commission, legislation is the surest path to nullify pay raises. In addition to blocking legislative pay raises, the legislation directs the Department of Administration to expedite classification studies to ensure salaries and benefits for front-line state employees are competitive to recruit and retain employees.

“We do need to regularly adjust compensation levels for everyone, but we should focus on supporting police, teachers, and other front-line public servants before funding pay increases for high-level executives and the Legislature,” said Rep. Donna Mears (D-Anchorage). 

“The most pressing issue facing our state is not increasing legislative pay," said Rep. Maxine Dibert (D-Downtown Fairbanks). "I am determined to fight for an increase to the BSA to ensure Alaska’s educators and students have the support they need to thrive in our public education system.”

"This process stinks to high heaven," said Rep. Cliff Groh (D-Anchorage). "I'm in support of increasing the BSA, providing a decent retirement system for public employees, and fixing Alaska's massive structural deficit."

The governor vetoed SB 86 on March 22nd which the Alaska Legislature voted unanimously 40-0 to block raises for the state’s governor, lieutenant governor and the commissioners in charge of state departments.

As of March 22nd, Representatives Mears, Dibert, and Groh's legislation was in the process of being drafted by Legislative Legal Services and will be read across the House Floor at the earliest opportunity.


Source of News:

Alaska Senate Majority

Alaska House Coalition


Representations of fact and opinions in comments posted are solely those of the individual posters and do not represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Send a letter to the

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2023
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews are considered protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper freelance writers and subscription services.

E-mail your news & photos to

Photographers choosing to submit photographs for publication to SitNews are in doing so granting their permission for publication and for archiving. SitNews does not sell photographs. All requests for purchasing a photograph will be emailed to the photographer.