Covering Louisiana

May 20, 2013 8:19 PM by AP

Senate committee okays annual pay raise for judges

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A bid to give judges five years of annual pay raises easily received the backing Monday of the Senate's budget committee - after it was changed to require money for the salary hike to come from the annual judicial budget.

Supporters said the judges haven't had a raise since 2010. "It really is appropriate to do this," said Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans.

The bill would give Supreme Court justices a 5.5 percent pay increase on July 1, with appeal court judges getting a 3.7 percent boost and district court judges receiving a 4 percent increase.

After that, every July from 2014 through 2017, all three sets of judges - along with city and parish court judges - would get a 2.1 percent annual bump in pay.

The raises would cost $2.5 million in the first year, then grow another $1.4 million in cost each year through the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Finance Committee agreed without objection, sending the proposal (Senate Bill 188) to the full Senate for debate.

Also sent to the Senate floor with unanimous backing from the committee was a House-approved bill (House Bill 174) that would allow annual 4 percent pay raises for parish clerks of court for the next four years.

The raises would add about $300,000 in salary costs each year and would only be allowed if clerks complete an annual certification and maintain the certification.

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