- Associated Press - Monday, June 2, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A disparity in lawmakers’ pay has led to a review of how Kentucky lawmakers are compensated for expenses.

The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1rCtV1x) reports some lower-ranking lawmakers actually made more than higher-ranking ones due to a patchwork of laws and policies.

According to records the newspaper got from the Legislative Research Commission, Rep. Keith Hall had the highest compensation of any House member in 2013 at $86,514. House Speaker Greg Stumbo came in second at $83,602.

The records show that Republican Caucus Chairman Dan Seum of Louisville had a total compensation of $79,352 while higher-ranked Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Georgetown received $57,440.

The disparities led Senate President Robert Stivers to put a directive in the budget bill that staff review policies on paying expenses and make a recommendation by July 1.



“… I asked for this so we can have a more consistent policy and there can be a better idea of what would be too high and what might be too low,” Stivers said.

Stumbo said he wasn’t sure what the review would find, but declined to say anything critical about the disparity. He said lawmaker pay is low and he usually approves requests from those who want to attend extra conferences and meetings.

“People should be paid for their work. And I see a lot of people who do a helluva lot less work in Frankfort than every legislator I know and make three times the salary,” Stumbo said.

Aside from being paid during legislative sessions, lawmakers also are paid for days worked in the interim such as for committee meetings and for other meetings or events that are related to their work as a legislator.

The lawmakers who received the most compensation said there were good reasons for it.

“Naturally my expenses are higher than most legislators due to the fact that I live 200 miles from the Capitol, and I spend more days traveling and searching for new job opportunities for my district,” said Hall of Phelps in Pike County.

Seum said he travels to his Frankfort office when he has legislative work to do.

“If I work out of my house, I don’t get paid,” Seum said.

___

Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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