Judicial salary increases advanced

Nebraska judges would receive a raise under a bill advanced from general file April 9.

Sen. Steve Lathrop
Sen. Steve Lathrop

LB386, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Steve Lathrop, would increase Nebraska Supreme Court judges’ salaries for fiscal year 2021-22 and FY2022-23. The current salary is $187,035.

District, county, juvenile, appellate and workers’ compensation court judges’ salaries statutorily are based on a percentage of the Supreme Court judges’ salaries, Lathrop said, so those judges also would receive a salary increase.

“It is important if we are going to attract and retain good quality lawyers to serve the state — typically coming from their highest earning years — that every two years we fix their wage and provide for a raise in their pay,” he said.

The bill would set the salary increase at 3 percent each fiscal year, totaling $192,647 in FY2021-22 and $198,426 in FY2022-23.

Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt opposed the bill. Nebraska Supreme Court judges should not be “rewarded” with a pay increase, she said, after they prevented a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana from appearing on the 2020 general election ballot.

“The court disregarded an unequivocal request from the people of Nebraska who pay the taxes that pay their salaries,” Hunt said.

Senators voted 37-1 to advance LB386 to select file.

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