South Dakota lawmakers getting first pay raise in 21 years

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota legislators headed to the state Capitol for the 2019 session are getting their first pay raise in about two decades.

State lawmakers will be paid $11,378.80 in 2019, a roughly 90 percent jump from the $6,000 per session they've received since 1998. Legislators also get a per diem allowance that's increased during that time.

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, a Republican, says the raise will allow more people to get involved in state politics.

The wage hike is part of a law approved last year that set legislator salaries at one-fifth of the South Dakota median household income.

Supporters said the measure aimed to fairly compensate future lawmakers in order to encourage a wider range of qualified candidates to run for office.