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SD lawmakers low paid -- but not lowest paid

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

If legislators are honest, serving in the South Dakota Legislature won't make them rich. But serving in the Wyoming Legislature will make a lawmaker even less rich.

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Wyoming has the lowest legislative salaries in the Northern Plains at $3,000 a year, according to a new report published in Stateline, the Pew Charitable Trusts online government magazine.

South Dakota's legislators make double that — $6,000 a year — which still places them second from the bottom in the region for lawmaker pay.

Minnesota's legislators are the highest paid in the Northern Plains, at $31,141 a year.

Legislative salaries and per diem while in session (for room and board and meals) in the Northern Plains according to Stateline: Minnesota, $31,141/year, $86/day for senators, $66/day for representatives; Iowa, $25,000/year, $135/day unless the legislator lives in Polk County, then $101.25; North Dakota, $19,000/year, lodging allowance set at $1,569/month; Nebraska, $12,000/year, $129/day if the legislator lives 50 miles from the capitol, $46/day if they live within 50 miles; Montana, $7,438/year, $109.80/day; South Dakota, $6,000/year, $110/day; and Wyoming, $3,000/day, $109/day.

It could be worse. New Mexico lawmakers receive no salary and $159/day per diem.

And it could be better — much better. California lawmakers are the highest paid at $90,526/year and $141.86/day

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