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SD lawmakers low paid -- but not lowest paid

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.

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