Oregon Legislator Salary Analysis

Oregon Legislators’ Salaries

Oregon legislators’ salaries have been below Oregon annual median wages for all occupations since at least 2002. Oregon Revised Statutes 171.072 sets legislators’ salaries.

With passage of House Bill 2597 (2013), determination of State Senator and State Representative annual salaries shifted from the Oregon Public Officials Compensation Commission to the Legislative Assembly.

House Bill 4163 (2018) changed the way legislators’ salaries are determined to “one step below the maximum step of the greater of Salary Range 1 in the Management Service Compensation Plan in the executive department as defined in ORS 174.112 or Seventeen percent of the salary of a circuit court judge.” Under the new law, the Assembly received a 29% raise in 2019 and another 5% in 2021.

Senate Bill 1566 (2022) proposes to change legislators’ annual salaries to “the annual occupational mean wage estimate for Oregon, as determined for the prior calendar year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor and the state Employment Department.” The adjustement would “be made only once every two years” for “pay periods beginning July 1 following the determination of the annual occupational mean wage estimate.” “[T]he amount a member of the Legislative Assembly receives for services may not be decreased by more than two percent from the annual salary the member received in the prior calendar year.”

The last reported annual mean wage for Oregon was $56,880 in 2020. Estimates are released annually in May. Oregon legislators currently receive an annual salary of $32,839. Changing to the mean wage would have resulted in an $24,041 (73%) increase. The annual mean wage for Oregon has not dropped during the 20 year period examined. So, the provision that prevents wages from decreasing more than two percent is not needed.

The annual mean wage for Oregon during the period 2002–2020 has been consistently 30% higher than the annual median wage. The greater mean wage indicates the wage distribution in Oregon is skewed toward higher earners. The mean is not a robust statistic because it is largely influenced by outliers. The median is a better measure of central tendency of skewed distributions because it isn’t influenced by outliers.

2022 Oregon HJR 204 – Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing Citizens Redistricting Commission to adopt redistricting maps for Senate, House of Representatives and United States Congress.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2022R1/Measures/Overview/HJR204

Summary: Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing Citizens Redistricting Commission to adopt redistricting maps for Senate, House of Representatives and United States Congress. Refers proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at next general election.

2/1/2022 Referred to Rules.

2/1/2022 Motion to withdraw from Rules failed.

2022 Oregon HB 4044 – Reduces number of electors who must be registered as member of minor political party in order for minor political party to retain political party status from one-half of one percent to one-quarter of one percent of total number of registered electors in state.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2022R1/Measures/Overview/HB4044

Summary: Reduces number of electors who must be registered as member of minor political party in order for minor political party to retain political party status from one-half of one percent to one-quarter of one percent of total number of registered electors in state.

2/1/2022 (House) Referred to Rules.

2/8/2022 (House) Public Hearing held. My testimony.

2022 Oregon SB 1566 – Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly equal to annual occupational mean wage estimate for Oregon for prior year.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2022R1/Measures/Overview/SB1566

Summary: Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly equal to annual occupational mean wage estimate for Oregon for prior year. Directs that salary of members of Legislative Assembly be adjusted to conform to annual occupational mean wage estimate only once every two years. Applies cost-of-living adjustment to monthly interim expense allowance received by members. Authorizes child care allowance for members who have children or dependents under 13 years of age. Applies to pay periods beginning on or after January 1, 2023. Takes effect on 91st day following adjournment sine die.

Measure History Summary

  • 2/1/2022 (Senate) Referred to Rules.
  • 2/3/2022 (Senate) Public Hearing held. My testimony.
  • 2/22/2022 (Senate) Work Session held.
  • 2/24/2022 (Senate) Recommedation: Do pass with amendments and be referred to Ways and Means.

News Articles

2022 Oregon Initiative Petition 34 – Amends Constitution: Repeals redistricting process by legislature; creates redistricting commission; equal number Democrats, Republicans, others; 2023 redistricting

INITIATIVE PETITION

http://egov.sos.state.or.us/elec/web_irr_search.record_detail?p_reference=20220034..LSCYYY.

Summary: Amends Constitution. Oregon Constitution requires legislature to redraw state legislative districts every ten years. Legislature also draws congressional districts. Measure repeals current state constitutional processes; creates twelve-member commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts. Commission membership restricted based on length of residence/party affiliation, recent political work, political contributions, or family members who engaged in certain political activity. Secretary of State randomly selects six members from applicant group; other members chosen by first six. Four members must be registered with each of largest two political parties, four unaffiliated or from other parties. At least one Democrat, Republican, and other must agree for commission to approve map or take other action. Changes redistricting criteria. Repeals 2021 map; requires redistricting in 2023. Other provisions.

1/6/2022 Ballot Title Appealed to Supreme Court.

2021 Oregon SB 830 – Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly at estimated average income of individual residents of Oregon.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/SB830

Summry: Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly at estimated average income of individual residents of Oregon. Directs Legislative Revenue Officer to make estimate on or before May 1 of each odd-numbered year. Applies to salary pay periods beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

3/3/2021 (Senate) Referred to Rules.

6/26/2021 (Senate) In committee upon adjournment.

2021 Oregon HB 3144 – Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly at annual mean occupational employment and wage estimate for Oregon for year preceding start of biennium.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/HB3144

Summary: Establishes annual salary of members of Legislative Assembly at annual mean occupational employment and wage estimate for Oregon for year preceding start of biennium. Directs Legislative Revenue Officer to report annual mean occupational employment and wage estimate on or before May 1 of each odd-numbered year. Applies to salary pay periods beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

2/12/2021 (House) Referred to Rules.

3/2/2021 (House) Work Session held.

3/10/2021 (House) Public Hearing held.

6/26/2021 (House) In committee upon adjournment.

2021 Oregon SB 260 – Requires Secretary of State to conduct study and analyze existing criteria for reapportionment of state into congressional and legislative districts.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/SB260

Summary: Requires Secretary of State to conduct study and analyze existing criteria for reapportionment of state into congressional and legislative districts. Requires secretary to develop recommendations regarding whether any criteria should be added to or removed from current statute in order to ensure most representative reapportionments possible. Requires secretary to submit report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to rules by September 15, 2022. Sunsets January 2, 2023.

1/19/2021 (Senate) Referred to Redistricting.

6/26/2021 (Senate) In committee upon adjournment.

2021 Oregon HJR 7 – Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing Citizens Redistricting Commission to adopt redistricting maps for Senate, House of Representatives and United States Congress.

LEGISLATION

https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/HJR7

Summary: Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing Citizens Redistricting Commission to adopt redistricting maps for Senate, House of Representatives and United States Congress. Refers proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at next general election.

6/26/2021 In committee upon adjournment.