Oregon lawmakers consider raising own pay by 63 percent to boost diversity

The Oregonian

SALEM — Oregon lawmakers are considering raising their annual pay by nearly $20,000, a move the sponsors say will attract more diverse candidates to the statehouse.

“We’re a diverse state, we need a diverse legislature,” Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, one of the legislators leading the effort, told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Because of the low pay, we are automatically screening out people who really should be represented here.” 

The move comes only a few weeks after a 28 percent legislative pay raise went into effect. Lawmakers were not behind that raise, and the increase was tied to collective bargaining agreements that affected nearly 40,000 state employees.

Legislators now make $31,200, plus an extra $149 a day when the Legislature is in session.

Burdick, a Democrat from Portland, said that the current pay isn’t a living wage and makes it more likely that retirees or independently wealthy candidates pursue office. She noted that legislators make far less than some city and county elected officials.

A recent series in The Oregonian/OregonLive highlighted ways that some lawmakers use money from campaign donors to supplement their pay, sometimes in particularly outrageous ways.

Burdick is proposing a measure that would raise wages by 63 percent, to more than $50,000 per year. That would make Oregon’s Legislature one of the highest paid in the country, compared to other statehouses with lawmakers working for a similar amount of time.

But it’s unclear if the state has the money to fund a salary bump. The most recent pay raise will cost Oregon $1.6 million every two years, and the increase floated in the proposal will be much more.

State budget leaders have already called for cuts across nearly all state programs and are trying to dig deep to come up with more money for schools and health care.

Still, Burdick is undeterred. And although she concedes that the plan will likely be politically unpopular, she maintains that it’s necessary to create a well-rounded statehouse that better reflects state demographics.

“This is not a get-rich-quick scheme down here,” she said. “This is public service. But if it gets to the point where you can’t feed your family, that’s where the problem is.”

— The Associated Press


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5 Responses to Oregon lawmakers consider raising own pay by 63 percent to boost diversity

  1. carl hammel says:

    Of course raising the minimum wage only hurts those living on the margins to begin with. For instance, if you are worth one fiat federal reserve note to your struggling employer and some unelected agency demands that you pay the marginal worker more than one fiat federal reserve note the workers on the margin are dismissed because they become a liability to the company. It’s like we need to kick the war criminal bums out because they are a liability to freedom and common sense. They don’t need a raise. They need a lesson in economics as well as morality Theft isn’t cool just because you work for the coercive, criminal state. Oh, poor us, saving the populace from deciding how to waste their income, are in dire need of stealing more of their income to facilitate the process of wasting it for them. There ought to be a law! F.U.

  2. Mark Schumacher says:


  3. Martist says:


    “Senator Burdick is one of the Legislature’s leading advocates for gun safety legislation. In the 2017 Legislative Session, she joined with Republican Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, to sponsor Oregon’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law. Oregon’s ERPO is a tool to help prevent suicide and other harmful behavior by removing dangerous weapons from people in crisis. Similar to Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order – a ballot measure that passed statewide with about 70 percent of the vote in November 2016[6] – Oregon’s ERPO allows a process for keeping deadly weapons away from a person found by the court finds to be at risk of suicide or being a danger to others.

    In the 2018 Legislative Session, Senator Burdick strongly supported the passage of House Bill 4145, which strengthened Oregon’s gun safety laws by closing the intimate partner loophole. This bill aligns the definition of a domestic violence conviction under Oregon’s Unlawful Possession of Firearms statute with the definitions of domestic violence found elsewhere in Oregon law, effectively closing the loophole for when there is a dating relationship. It also adds a stalking misdemeanor as a qualifying offense, subject to firearm dispossession.”

    What would anyone expect from a burdick?

  4. Enemy of the State says:

    Every state some politician has a bright idea on how to fck us all deeper than the last time

    Where’s the people’s balls at , mommas purse?

    Learn to say no and mean it

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