Bill to give SD lawmakers a raise headed to governor's desk

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - It's up to Gov. Dennis Daugaard to decide if South Dakota state legislators should get their first pay raise in two decades.

The House voted 52-15 Wednesday to send a bill to the Republican governor that would tie their salaries to the state's median household income.

The measure would increase pay to more than $10,000, up from lawmakers' current salary of $6,000 per session plus a per diem allowance.

Tony Venhuizen, the governor's chief of staff, says Daugaard supports a legislative pay increase and would sign the bill as long as the necessary funds are included in the state budget.

The plan would set legislators' salaries at one-fifth of the South Dakota median household income starting next year. Lawmakers last voted to increase legislative pay in 1998.