Big legislative pay, benefits hike on Senate agenda tomorrow

Bill also would create group to study length of legislative session

By Guy Page

The 30 members of the Vermont Senate tomorrow, Tuesday April 11 will consider S.39, increasing lawmakers’ pay and benefits. 

It also creates a legislative working group to recommend changes in when and how often the Legislature meets – potentially opening the door to an extended or year-round session. 

S.39, as amended unanimously by Senate Government Operations Committee, features:

Base pay hike – Increase base weekly, in-session pay from the current $811 to $1,210, beginning in 2025 – the first year of the next biennium.

Special Session per diem – pay a per diem (daily) rate equal to one-fifth of the weekly pay.

Health insurance benefits – legislators would be eligible for the same health care benefits now enjoyed by State of Vermont executive branch employees. 

Adjournment Pay – when out-of-session, lawmakers would receive weekly pay one-fifth of the in-session pay ($242/week). 

Mileage reimbursement – travel from home to the Capitol at the federal mileage reimbursement rate (currently 65.5 cents). 

Professional development out-of-state – Lawmakers would receive a per-diem (pro-rated from weekly salary) for attending out-of-state professional development and other duties. 

Meals reimbursement or allowance – Lawmakers would elect either actual meals reimbursement or the federally-established government meals allowance for Montpelier, Vermont – which is currently $69/day. 

Lodging reimbursement or allowance – Lawmakers would elect either actual lodging reimbursement or the federally-established government lodging allowance for Montpelier, Vermont – which is currently $127/day. 

Childcare/eldercare – Each lawmaker with $75K or less of household income will receive up to $1600/year for necessary childcare or eldercare. 

Parking – A member who attests that physical limitations make it difficult or impractical  to walk from lodging to the State House may receive reimbursement for actual costs incurred for overnight parking. 

Orientation pay for members-elect – Each newly-elected non-incumbent will be paid a per diem based on lawmakers’ weekly pay for attending new member orientation, usually held in December. 

Death pay – The estate of a deceased member will receive the entire pay of the two-week period in which the member died. 

Legislative leave of absence – Employers of lawmakers will be required to provide leaves of absence for lawmakers in pursuit of their legislative duties. Candidates must inform employers shortly after filing to run for office. 

Speaker of the House, Senate President pay hikes – the elected leaders of both chambers would receive $20,716 annually plus an additional $1,340/week when the Legislature is in session.

The Gov Ops version of the bill appropriates $875,000 to cover these added expenses. However, a Seven Days media report estimates the likely added cost at $2.4 million. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee version covers many of the same bases, but differs somewhat in details. For example, base pay for lawmakers would begin at $1000 for 2025 and rise to $1100 for 2026. The Speaker and Senate President also would receive substantial pay hikes, but the terms are somewhat different. 

The bill also creates a Legislative Service Working Group to consider further pay and benefits, and “whether changes should be made to the length or structure of the legislative session.” Gov. Scott has said he would consider supporting the bill if the Legislature limited itself to a three-month session. 

S.39 was sponsored by Sen. Ruth Hardy, chair of Gov Ops, and Sens. Alison Clarkson, Sen. Martine Gulick, Nader Hashim, Robert Norris (the only Republican sponsor), Kesha Ram Hinsdale, Tanya Vyhovsky, Anne Watson, and Rebecca White. 

The Vermont Senate is scheduled to convene at 9:30 AM tomorrow. S39 is the only bill on the agenda.

If approved by a full Senate vote tomorrow, it will likely be voted on Wednesday for final Senate approval. Then, S.39 would go to the House.

All Senate chamber meetings can be viewed live here. All senators’ names, districts, and legislative email addresses appear below.

Senator Philip BaruthChittenden-CentralBurlingtonDem/ProgAppropriations/ Judiciary/ Rulespbaruth@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Christopher BrayAddison DistrictNew HavenDemocratFinance/ Natural Resources and Energycbray@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Randy BrockFranklinSt. AlbansRepublicanEconomic Dev., Housing and General Affairs/ Finance/ Rulesrbrock@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Brian CampionBenningtonBenningtonDemocratAgriculture/ Educationbcampion@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Thomas ChittendenChittenden-SoutheastS. BurlingtonDemocratFinance/ Transportationtchittenden@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Alison ClarksonWindsorWoodstockDemocratEconomic Dev., Housing and General Affairs/ Rules/ Gov. OperationsAClarkson@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Brian CollamoreRutlandRutlandRepublicanAgriculture/ Institutionsbcollamore@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Ann CummingsWashingtonMontpelierDemocratEconomic Dev., Housing and General Affairs/ Financeacummings@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Martine GulickChittenden-CentralBurlingtonDemocratEducation/ Health and Welfaremgulick@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Ruth HardyAddisonEast MiddleburyDemocratGov. Operations/ Health and Welfarerhardy@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Wendy HarrisonWindhamBrattleboroDemocratEconomic Dev., Housing and General Affairs/ Institutionswharrison@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Nader HashimWindhamDummerstonDemocratEducation/ Judiciarynhashim@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Russ IngallsEssexNewportRepublicanInstitutions/ Transportationringalls@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Jane KitchelCaledoniaDanvilleDemocratAppropriations/ Transportationjkitchel@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Virginia “Ginny” LyonsChittenden-SoutheastWillistonDemocratAppropriations/ Health and Welfarevlyons@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Mark A. MacDonaldOrangeWilliamstownDemocratFinance/ Natural Resources and Energymmacdonald@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Dick MazzaGrand IsleColchesterDemocratInstitutions/ Transportation/ Rulesdmazza@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Dick McCormackWindsorBethelDemocratFinance/ Natural Resources and Energyrmccormack@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Robert NorrisFranklinSheldonRepublicanGov. Operations/ Judiciaryrnorris@leg.state.vt.us
Senator andrew PerchlikWashingtonMontpelierDemProgAppropriations/ Transportation/ Rulesaperchlik@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Kesha Ram HinsdaleChittenden-SoutheastBurlingtonDemocratEconomic Dev, Housing and General Affairs/ Financekramhinsdale@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Dick Sears Jr.BenningtonN. BenningtonDemocratAppropriations/ Judiciaryrsears@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Robert StarrOrleansN. TroyDemocratAgriculture/ Appropriationsrstarr@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Tanya VyhovskyChittenden-CentralEssexProg/DemGovernment Operations/ Judiciarytvyhovsky@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Anne WatsonWashingtonMontpelierDem/ProgGov. Operations/ Natural Resources and Energyawatson@leg.state.vt.us
Senator David WeeksRutlandProctorRepublicanEducation/ Health and Welfaredweeks@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Richard WestmanLamoilleCambridgeRepublicanAgriculture/ Appropriationsrwestman@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Rebecca WhiteWindsorHartfordDemocratGov. Operations/ Natural Resources and Energyrwhite@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Terry WilliamsRutlandPoultneyRepublicanEducation/ Health and Welfaretwilliams@leg.state.vt.us
Senator Irene WrennerChittenden-NorthEssexDemocratAgriculture/ Institutionsiwrenner@leg.state.vt.us

Categories: Legislation

19 replies »

  1. Just another indication they are only in office for themselves. They have not pass a piece of legislation to benifit the citizens of Vermont. They beleive they are doing such a great job they deserve a raise.

  2. There’s a shocker isn’t this what they do every year. Go ask for it from your progressive friends since you side with them on everything. Let them pay you

  3. i love when they say passing this will encourage those of lesser means to run. it will not because it is now too expensive for average person to run against those who can easily raise more money to run. it is about enriching themselves.

    • “raise money” ??? They are funded by corporations, big pharma, socialists and Marxists. They are simply installed and have no clue as to what they are doing and don’t care as long as their own pockets and those of their cronies are lined. Get a blanket, they are here to “save the world”!!

    • Really doubt the “pendulum” will swing another way! In fact, there is no way the situation will ever change as long as the Dem/Prog Legislature are re-elected by our “Dumb as a Brick” voters that refuse to change their selfish ways! What a shame, we have joined the caravan towards those states that are on the road to ruin!

  4. At $69 per day allocation for meals (if legislators choose not to eat out), legislators could pull in $25,185 dollars if they worked every day of the year… and the compensation would be Tax Free.

    I remember the famous depression era song: Brother can you spare a dime.

  5. Just another sad day for us, Vermonters. The legislature gives us nothing, and they give themselves a raise. They do not deserve a raise for everything they do is against us vermonters. I think it would be better if they cut their pay and all benefits at least in half until they can start working for Vermonters rather than themselves or the communist party.

  6. If the bittmunches would do something to make living in Vermont a little more affordable, instead of more expensive I’d be more apt to agree with giving them a rise, but not only do they want a raise, they want to be paid when they are not even in session ? Really ? You can’t make this crap up ! They really think they are that indispensable. There’s not a one of them that could not be replaced by voice message on a phone.

  7. Why? What have they done for Vermonters, other than give perks to their cronies and stick all of us with the expense?

  8. Let see, $811 to $1,210 almost a 50% increase @ $399.00. How many Vermonters got a 50% pay increase for doing the same job ? I never ever did, and I highly doubt most others did either. But then I never had a job where I could vote my pay increase despite what my boss thought. Remember, in a Constitutional Republic the citizens are the boss. Pay increases should be a voter decision.

  9. More taxes ,less freedom is their motto. Seem like if we are going to be paying for this it should be placed on a ballot statewide.

  10. The petty tyrant despots are all in. They are incapable of doing what is right or justified. They are morally and ethically bankrupt. They are on a mission to destroy the State by order of their Masters. Mystery Babylon indeed.

  11. Personally would like to see the Vt legislature to meet only once every 2 years like Texas does. No increase to a full time job and NO PAY INCREASE!

    • Pre 1967 the Vermont General Assembly did meet every other year for, I believe it was 6 weeks. What changed ? We went from a legislature made up of hard working Vermonters, a lot of them farmers, who could only be away from the “real world” for 6 weeks every other year, to a legislature made up of lawyers, trust fund babies, and professional lobbyists who’s mission was make a living out of what used to be considered a “public service”. Oh, and then came the invasion of the late 60s and early seventies of people like comrade Boinie and his ilk.

  12. Dear Vermont “REPRESENTATIVES” The people of Vermont, who write your pay checks, vote no on your raise. We also vote no on the free healthcare bill you have written for yourselves. You may however, reduce the time you spend in session every year. In fact, we highly recommend you meet every other year, for a short few weeks. Thank you, All Vermonters

  13. So they keep raising OUR fees and taxes and price the average Vermonter out of owning a decent home while piling on more and more burdensome regulations, but they get to benefit for all their “hard” work? I’m beginning to feel the same as the early revolutionists did because we are definitely experiencing taxation without representation.

  14. Excuse me in advance, but when did becoming a public servant in a small state like VT become a full-time career path? Aren’t there states with more complicated populations and budgets like VA who do the government of business in 1/6th the time? Perhaps WY could serve as model that does it in 40 days.
    Since no person has the courage to propose term limits, we will be creating a class of untouchables for generations yet unborn to confront.
    Those occupying the current state house have come to believe they are the anointed and should be accorded the rights of the position.
    A one-party system like VT opens the doors to abuses approved under the guise of law. At this time, there is not much to stop the progression. you can only imagine the corners of your life this group will reach into with additional time to provide you their focused service.

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