Rep. Jimenez Pushes for Cost Saving Reforms for Members of the General Assembly

State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez today introduced a package of bills that will eliminate
several of the avenues by which members of the General Assembly now receive automatic extra pay. Representative Jimenez (R-Leland Grove) said limiting money going to lawmakers is the right thing to do for the state budget, and for taxpayers who are footing the bill.

Representative Jimenez introduced HB 6611 today, which will prohibit automatic cost of living adjustments (COLAS) for members of the General Assembly. Under current law, the Compensation Review Board recommends cost of living adjustment pay increases for members of the General Assembly and for state constitutional officers which go into effect automatically unless both the House and Senate pass legislation specifically to reject them.

“The current system of automatic COLAS is designed to provide raises for lawmakers as quietly as possible. That’s not transparent, and it’s not how the process should work. If lawmakers want and believe they deserve a raise, then they should have to vote to enact it,” Representative Jimenez said.

Representative Jimenez today also filed HB 6612 that would ensure members of the General Assembly are paid for their first and last months in office only for days they actually served.  Representative Jimenez was sworn in on November 20, 2015, but was paid for the entire month of November for her service as a member. She promptly refunded the overpayment to the state, but HB 6612 would simply ensure that future lawmakers in that position would only be paid for the days of the month actually served.

Representative Jimenez’s legislative package also includes HB 6610 that prohibits any member of the General Assembly who resides in Sangamon County from collecting mileage and per diem for session days. Representative Jimenez, who lives in Sangamon County, has refused mileage and per diem reimbursements since taking office.

“These are reimbursements for travel and lodging for legislators from other areas of the state who must travel to and stay in Springfield while we’re in session. Obviously, those of us who live right here in Sangamon County don’t require this type of reimbursement, and this legislation just codifies that in state law,” said Representative Jimenez.

Representative Jimenez said that she will be working to have all three bills considered during the General Assembly’s Fall Veto Session which gets underway November 15 so that they are in place before the new members of the General Assembly take the oath of office in January.