Supplemental Pay Bills to be Debated

There are a number of proposals filed for the regular session to increase state supplemental pay for firefighters and police officers. It’s a boost lawmakers haven’t implemented since the early 2000s, so the reaction from these communities could send hundreds in full uniform to lobby the Legislature, which would in turn put lawmakers in a tight spot. Saying no to a bureaucrat is one thing. Denying your neighborhood police officer is another.

“The Legislature is going to have be careful about getting on a spending binge,” said Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro. “The normal stream of revenue is not supporting what we have in the budget right now. What we’re doing is spending based on amnesty money that’s going to go away. We’re spending on the pharmaceutical settlements, which is money that will go away the next year. If you look at the (Revenue Estimating Conference), there’s not a lot of growth expected.”

As for whether the issue could balloon, sending hordes of uniforms to the Capitol to pressure lawmakers, like in previous years, Fannin said it’s a possibility. Especially with a proposed constitutional amendment to add municipal EMS workers to the list of those who can receive state supplemental pay. “It might be like that. But there’s always people coming up the steps,” he said. “We need to remember that if we increase supplemental pay, the increase is going to be there every year.”

Bills filed include:

HB 209 by Rep. Dalton Honoré, D-Baton Rouge: Gives full-time police officers and deputy sheriffs a $250 per month boost, but only if they have completed and passed a certified training program and received an advanced degree from an accredited institution.

HB 138 by Rep. Honoré: Provides an extra $200 to police officers, but only to those who have been receiving supplemental pay already for at least one year and have received a postgraduate academic degree issued by an accredited college or university.

HB 135 by Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans: Increases the state’s existing supplemental pay for firemen and law enforcement personnel from $500 per month to $600 per month.

SB 285 by Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans: A constitutional amendment to add municipally-employed EMS practitioners to the list of those eligible for state supplemental pay.

HB 794 Rep. Joel Robideaux , R-Lafayette: Increase the salaries of employees of the Lafayette City Police Department by 2 percent after every fiscal year the sales tax revenues collected by the city exceed collections from the preceding year by greater than 3 percent.