A bill filed in the Georgia legislature would bring the the annual salary of Georgia lawmakers in line with median annual household income in Georgia, which would allow the pay to automatically adjust without legislative review should the median number increase or decrease.

The salary number would come from the Census report.

The bill is a bipartisan measure filed by Senators Valencia Seay, Jen Jordan, Ed Harbison, Jeff Mullis, Freddie Powell, and Emanuel Jones. Mullis is the sole Republican co-sponsor. He is also the chairman of the powerful Senate Rules committee.

The increase would be a more than three fold increase from what is currently law. Lawmakers in Georgia currently earn just over $17,000 annually and are already entitled to retirement benefits after four terms – or eight years – and they can opt in to the state health benefits plan while they are serving as well. Elected officials also receive a $119 per diem day reimbursement for days worked as lawmakers outside of the 40-day legislative session in the beginning of the year.

The median income for Georgia in 2017, according to the US Census, was $56,183. [See here].

In late 2017, a report by a committee suggested a pay raise for lawmakers, but no legislation was filed to increase the rate of pay in 2018 – an election year for statewide and legislative seats. In early 2018, lawmakers voted to raise the Governor’s salary from $$139,229 to $175,000. It took effect with the swearing in of Governor Brian Kemp. The committee, put together by state law makers, recommended a 72% increase in salaries for legislators, which is $29,908 – the amount proposed by Seay.

This is the second piece of legislation filed in the Senate this year to increase lawmaker salaries. Riverdale Democrat Valencia Seay, who was elected in 2003, prefiled Senate Bill 13 on January 9th. The bill seeks to increase lawmaker for Georgia representatives and senators from the current rate, just over $17,000 annually, to $29,908 annually.

The bill would also codify the Speaker of the House salary at $135,000, Speaker Pro Tem of the House at $35,908, and the President Pro Tem of the Senate at $35,908, while setting the Lieutenant Governor’s salary at $135,000.  A constitutional amendment has been proposed alongside the legislation.

You can read Senate Bill 81, which increases the salary to the median annual household income, here.

Contact these lawmakers by email:

SB 81_2019
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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as agricultural news. She has a background in Political Science, with a focus in local government, and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She's a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."


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