St. Louis lawmaker seeks to block pay raises for judges | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis lawmaker seeks to block pay raises for judges

Jan 6, 2011

Legislation that would block pay raises for judges in Missouri has been introduced in the State Senate.

The raises were recommended by a special commission to bring salaries for state judges closer to their federal counterparts.

Judicial advocates say the pay hikes are necessary to compete for qualified applicants and retain good judges who might otherwise leave the bench for the private sector.  The measure to block the raises is sponsored by State Senator Jim Lembke (R, St. Louis).

"I think it's unwise for us to take on any piece of legislation or any recommendation that actually has a fiscal note of cost to it when we're gonna be looking at addressing $500 million (in) cuts in this fiscal year," Lembke said.

The raises would cost about $5 million, which Lembke says the state can't afford right now.

"We're gonna be looking at all kinds of legislation this year, and any legislation that has a fiscal note is gonna have a very tough time making it through this body," Lembke said.

The raises will automatically take effect during the 2013 budget year unless 2/3rds of the Missouri House and Senate vote to reject them by February 1st.

Lembke says the same commission that's recommending pay raises for judges did not do so for lawmakers.