Alabama lawmakers’ pay increasing in 2021

Alabama lawmakers’ pay increasing in 2021

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Members of the Alabama Legislature will get a 3.76% raise on Jan.1, bringing the 140 lawmakers’ annual pay to $51,734.

With the $1,873 increase, legislators’ pay has increased by $8,885 since 2015 when a constitutional amendment went into effect tying their salaries to the state’s median household income. 

Next year’s pay bump reflects the 2019 median household income, according to the Alabama Department of Personnel. That means any COVID-19-caused decrease in household income this year could show up in lawmakers’ pay in 2022.

The 2012 voter-approved amendment was initially a pay cut for many lawmakers, putting their salaries at $42,849 in 2015. Since then, they’ve had five raises and one slight pay decrease. 

Republicans who pushed the constitutional amendment said it would save the state money and take politics out of their pay. If the state prospers, they get paid more; if it doesn’t, they don’t.

Alabama’s lawmakers are considered a “hybrid” legislature – not full-time, but more than part-time. They do most of their legislating during a regular session once a year, meeting usually three days a week for 15 weeks. The 2020 session was cut short by Coronavirus precautions. 

Lawmakers don’t earn more during sessions, but they are compensated for travel costs.

The amendment allows most lawmakers to be reimbursed more for travel to and from Montgomery.