Judicial pay raise bill advances

Judges would get five years of annual pay hikes, under a proposal that received the backing of a Senate judiciary panel in a 4-1 vote Tuesday.

State Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, said he sponsored Senate Bill 188 as head of the Judicial Compensation Commission, which reviews judges’ salaries and recommends changes based on the pay doled out in other states.

“It is important to the continued growth of this state that we have a good, solid judiciary, and we don’t need any disincentive for people to run,” Martiny said.

SB188 would give Supreme Court justices a 5.5 percent pay increase on July 1, with appeal court judges getting a 3.7 percent boost and district court judges receiving a 4 percent increase.

After that, every July from 2014 through 2017, all three sets of judges — along with city and parish court judges — would get a 2.1 percent annual bump in pay.

The raises would cost $2.5 million in the first year, then grow another $1.4 million in cost each year through the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The proposal heads next to the full Senate for debate.