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Silent death dealt to legislative pay hike

PIERRE -- An attempt to increase legislator pay for the first time since 1999 fell short Wednesday in the South Dakota Senate without anyone speaking against it.

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The vote was 18-15 in favor, but well short of the two-thirds majority of 24 needed.

Only Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, spoke. He was the prime sponsor of the plan to increase the annual salary to $10,000 from $6,000.

He argued that more people would be able to serve as legislators if the job paid more.

“I ask you to look around this body and then think about the demographics of your district or the state of South Dakota. Do they match? The answer is no,” Tieszen said. “All of us in this Legislature have figured out how to serve, some more easily than others.”

Tieszen suggested that legislators who feel they don’t deserve raises could donate the money to charities or write a $4,000 check to the state treasury.

No one else spoke on the bill.

How They Voted

YES – Begalka, R-Clear Lake. Bradford, D-Pine Ridge. Buhl O’Donnell, D-Sioux Falls. Frerichs, D-Wilmot. Heinemann, R-Sioux Falls. Holien, R-Watertown. Lederman, R-Dakota Dunes. Lucas, D-Mission. Maher, R-Isabel. Novstrup, R-Aberdeen. Omdahl, R-Sioux Falls. Peters, R-Hartford. Rave, R-Baltic. Soholt, R-Sioux Falls. Tieszen, R-Rapid City. Vehle, R-Mitchell. Welke, D-Warner.

NO – Brown, R-Gettysburg. Ewing, R-Spearfish. Hunhoff, R-Yankton. Jensen, R-Rapid City. Chuck Jones, R-Flandreau. Kirkeby, R-Rapid City. Krebs, R-Renner. Monroe, R-Pierre. Otten, R-Tea. Rampelberg, R-Rapid City. Rhoden, R-Union Center. Solano, R-Rapid City. Tiedemann, R-Brookings. Van Gerpen, R-Tyndall. White, R-Huron.

EXCUSED – Curd, R-Sioux Falls. Tom Jones, D-Viborg.