Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

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In first vote, Nevada lawmakers OK $15 million to pay themselves

CARSON CITY — Without debate or dissent, the Legislature passed its first bill Monday, allocating $15 million to pay for the 120 day session, the same amount as in 2009 and 2011.

The money goes for salaries of legislators for the first 60 days of the session, their per diem and added staff, among other expenses. Pay for lawmakers is cut off at 60 days, which was the original end of the session.

For the rest of the session, they receive a daily per diem of $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $31 for dinner, $5 for incidentals and $91 a day for housing — a total of $152.

In addition, each member gets $60 for periodicals, stamps and stationary and a $2,800 telephone allowance. The leadership and the chairs of each committee receive an additional $900 for postage and telephones.

The Legislature also has full-time secretaries in each house who read and help process bills. Their pay is $108,262.

Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said a resolution will be introduced Wednesday to maintain lawmakers’ pay at a reduced level. The 2011 Legislature lowered pay from $154 a day for the first 60 days of the 120 day session to $146, in line with cuts in state workers’ pay.

Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, had originally planned to introduce a bill to eliminate lawmakers’ pay and put the money toward public schools. But he voted along with all his colleagues for the $15 million appropriation.

He said Tuesday he is modifying his bill to voluntarily permit lawmakers to give up part or all of their salary for education.

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