The Ohio House and Senate worked to pass a pay raise for themselves and other state and local government officials before the end of the year by attaching the measure to a bill, SB296, that would increase benefits for families of first responders who died on the job.
The added provision caused a rift in the Statehouse where many lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, spoke out against the tactic.
“It’s disgusting to use families of law enforcement killed in the line of duty as a vehicle for pay raises,” said Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown).
House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) argued this was a raise that will encourage public service and it fits with this bill because it’s about benefits.
“This is not some exotic thing that we’re going off the rails on we’re talking about modest increases for local government officials who work hard every day and everybody else, it’s not outlandish by any means,” Smith said.
The bill would increase wages by 11% over the course of three years. A senator and representative, not in a leadership role, would go from making $60,584 to $67,493 in 2021.
Legislators would have to pass the pay raise during this session in order for lawmakers who start a new term next year to see those increases. The measure was also passed with an emergency clause so it would start immediately if the bill were to go into effect.
The bill now goes to Gov. John Kasich who hinted that he might veto a measure where legislators give themselves a pay raise.