HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers will consider giving themselves a 69 percent pay raise by changing the way their salaries are calculated when they meet in January.

The Legislative Council last month voted to draft a bill to base legislative pay on the average salaries of lawmakers in Montana and four surrounding states starting in 2021. The Aug. 23 meeting in Lewistown was not broadcast live, but a recording shows legislative leaders from both parties saying they’re underpaid, especially when compared to the executive and judicial branches of government.

Montana lawmakers are scheduled to make $92.46 a day for the 90-day 2019 legislative session.

That could jump to $156 a day if they vote to match the average of what lawmakers in Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana currently earn. That salary does not include $114 per day that lawmakers receive for expenses like lodging in Helena, a $3,000 stipend for constituent services and information technology expenses or a secondary reimbursement of up to $4,000 depending on the size of a legislator’s district.


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