Ward Proposes Lowering Lawmakers' Pay

Mississippi Sen. Giles Ward, a first-term Republican representing Winston, Neshoba and Leake counties, has introduced a bill to reduce legislative pay by 10% through the end of their current term.

The bill is now in the Fees, Salaries and Administration Committee of the Mississippi Senate.

In a news release, Ward pointed to a provision in the law that states increases or decreases in legislative compensation cannot take effect during the same legislative session in which it is enacted. So if passed, the legislation could not constitutionally be effective until January 1, 2011.

Ward has filed a companion bill which, if passed by the Legislature, would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot that would remove the restriction prohibiting the legislature from reducing legislative compensation in the year it is enacted.

“I find it very difficult to consider the numerous pieces of proposed legislation dealing with our current budget crisis and the significant consequences they potentially represent to thousands of employees of the State of Mississippi and their families without first addressing my own paycheck," said Ward. "I hope most of my colleagues in the legislature feel the same way."

Ward said he is directing the Comptroller of the Senate to reduce his salary by ten percent effective immediately, regardless of what happens to his bill.

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