BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s senators agreed Monday to a plan that could give the state’s judges annual pay hikes of 2.5% for the next five years.
The raises for 372 judges under Kenner Republican Sen. Danny Martiny’s bill would start with the new budget year, July 1. Additional 2.5% raises would happen each new budget year through 2023 if the judiciary determines it has money in its budget developed by lawmakers to pay for them.
The pay hikes would cost $1.8 million in the first year and grow to $9.5 million by the fifth year. Louisiana’s Supreme Court justices have agreed to cover the first year of the cost from an existing judicial surplus.
The bill covers the state’s Supreme Court justices, along with judges at Louisiana’s appeals, district, parish and city courts. Because raises for Louisiana’s sheriffs are tied in law to pay hikes for district court judges, parish sheriffs would be eligible for annual increases as well, paid out of their own agency budgets.
Senators voted 35-1 for the salary boosts, sending the measure to the House for debate. Democratic Sen. John Milkovich of Keithville opposed the proposal, questioning whether the state could afford 12.5% in increases over five years.
Louisiana’s judges received annual pay raises each year from 2013-17.