Outgoing Juneau lawmaker’s idea to cut lawmakers’ pay swiftly rejected

Members of the Alaska Legislature rejected a proposed pay cut late Monday, saying they didn’t have time to adequately consider the idea from Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau.

As proposed by Kito, lawmakers would have lost three-quarters of their per diem expense payments starting next year.

Kito, who is not running for re-election, proposed the move after the State Officers Compensation Commission removed all per diem payments for lawmakers who live within 50 miles of the Legislature. As long as the Legislature works in Juneau, that applies only to the three lawmakers who represent the capital city.

“The situation as it rests is infinitely inequitable to those legislators who are residing in Juneau,” Kito said during a meeting of the Legislative Council, the joint House-Senate panel that sets internal policy for the Legislature.

“I felt compelled to bring it forward,” he said.

Kito’s suggestion was rejected 1-13 by the Legislative Council, with even his nominal allies turning him down and voting to preserve their expense payments.

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