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CBS13 Web Exclusive: Why Did Three Suspended California Senators Get A Pay Raise?

By Kyle Buis
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California Citizens Compensation Commission met on Friday and approved a 2 percent raise for California lawmakers and state officials, including embattled state Sens. Ron Calderon, Leland Yee and Roderick Wright.

As CBS13 reported exclusively reported on March 28, the three senators facing legal troubles have been officially suspended, but are still being paid because of a legal opinion from the state’s Legislative Counsel Bureau.

The legislative bureau suggested to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s office that a state Constitutional amendment from 1990 meant to curb gifts an influence from lobbyists prevented the Senate from taking action. That fell under the California Citizens Compensation Commission‘s jurisdiction after Proposition 112 added this language to the constitution:

“Until a resolution establishing or adjusting the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits for state officers takes effect, each state officer shall continue to receive the same annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits received previously.” (Article III, Section 8, subdivision i)

The commission approved Friday’s 2 percent raise for state officials and legislators, but took no action on the three embattled senators.

Why would the one commission who has jurisdiction over the legislators’ pay not take up the issue?

CBS13 got answers from Steinberg’s office and found out while the commission determines if legislators get a pay bump, and how big of a pay bump, the change must be done across the board. The commission cannot change individual legislators’ pay, including stripping Yee, Calderon and Wright of their taxpayer-funded salary.

Raises Effective Dec. 2014

Position Current Salary New Salary
Governor $173,987 $177,467
Lieutenant Governor $130,490 $133,100
Attorney General $151,127 $154,150
Secretary of State $130,490 $133,100
Controller $139,189 $141,973
Treasurer $139,189 $141,973
State Superintendent $151,127 $154,150
Insurance Commissioner $139,189 $141,973
Board of Equalization $130,490 $133,100
Speaker of the Assembly $109,584 $111,776
Senate Pres. Pro Tem $109,584 $111,776
Minority Floor Leader $109,584 $111,776
Majority Floor Leader $102,437 $104,486
Junior Minority Leader $102,437 $104,486
All Other Legislators $95,291 $97,197

Steinberg’s office has put forward another state Constitutional amendment, SCA17, that would allow the same body that suspends a legislator to also suspend that legislator’s salary.

The amendment has already passed the state Senate and is set for an Assembly Rules Committee hearing on Thursday.

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