California’s 120 state legislators have responsibility over 29 legal codes that govern daily life:
They consider up to 5000 bills a year and generally pass 1000 or so, ~80 percent of which are signed into laws that impact more Californians than the laws of any other government body in the state. Yet their salaries are only about half the salaries paid to county supervisors in Los Angeles. Even legislators electing to collect per diem reimbursement still earn less than most county supervisors.
Try walking in the shoes of a state legislator. To get anything done, a legislator must gain the support of at least 61 other legislators and usually each other legislator wants something in exchange. It takes not only smarts but a special temperament. It also takes energy. Unlike supervisors, legislators have to travel back and forth to Sacramento nine months of the year.
During the next legislative session, legislators will approve spending of more than $300 billion on public education, safety, health, transportation, justice and prisons and rewrite codes impacting 6 million K-12 students, 3 million college and university students, 13 million Medi-Cal recipients, 20 million private sector workers and 40 million residents. They need the resources to perform well both for our state and their families. They should be paid more than $115,000 per year.