Rep. Rick West refiled legislation
Rep. Rick West refiled legislation that would send to the vote of the people a question regarding future legislative pay changes.
House Joint Resolution 1001 would require a statewide vote to determine whether or not legislative pay increases or decreases should face a vote of the people each time they are recommended or if the matter should continue to be decided by the Board on Legislative Compensation. If approved, the measure would amend the state Constitution.
“As representatives, we work for the people,” West said. “It’s my belief they should be the ones to determine if we’ve earned our pay and if it should be increased or decreased. This legislation keeps in place the Board on Legislative Compensation to make recommendations and give their rationale, but the ultimate decision on legislative pay should be made by the people themselves not by an appointed board.”
West, a Republican from Heavener, said the resolution is a pledge he made to constituents when he was re-elected to his House seat in 2020. A 35% increase in legislative pay was approved by the Board on Legislative Compensation for those serving starting in 2019. At the time, West was not in office. But, he said he pledged to voters that upon taking his seat in 2020 he would not take the pay increase but would instead donate it to charities in his House district.
He said he opposed the way the increase was handled by a board that has appointees by the governor and House and Senate leadership. The chairman of the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the director of State Finance serve as ex officio nonvoting members of the board.
Each of the past three years, West has proposed similar legislation, but it has not advanced. West said he’ll continue proposing the legislation to keep his promise to his constituents.
Rick West serves District 3 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of LeFlore County.
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