COLUMBUS – State Representatives John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) and Mark Romanchuk (R-Ontario) today announced the reintroduction of House Bill 695, known as “AWFUL”, which was 132-HB 649 during the 132nd General Assembly.  The bill’s name stands for Average Wage Fully Uniform Law. The legislation adjusts state legislators’ pay to Ohio’s statewide, inflation-adjusted median household income for the previous 12 months.  The bill has gained traction among the leadership of the Ohio House of Representatives, with Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) signing on as the first co-sponsor.


“It’s important that we as legislators remain cognizant of our duty to the taxpayers of our districts and to our state. This bill would help ensure that our compensation reflects the citizens that we serve,” said Becker.


The most recent US Census Bureau figures available from the last day of December that are to be used for the following calendar year are $56,111.  Majority and minority leadership as well as committee leadership will be recognized via their existing percentage increases relative to the magnitude of the work anticipated from those members.


“Elected officials seldom ‘share in the pain’ when there is an economic downturn.  This change will tie a legislator's salary to the economic well-being of the state,” Romanchuk said.


#InThisTogetherOhio must become more than a hashtag. It must become a commitment that we use to empathize with our unemployed constituents who are struggling to make ends meet while our own finances don't reflect their circumstances. However you feel about the extent of our state's response, it's self-evident that our government's actions have caused financial hardship for millions of Ohioans.  It only makes sense that we sacrifice a little bit when many people have lost their entire livelihoods. We are going to have to make some tough decisions about how to balance our budget moving forward. This should be one of the easy decisions.


The Ohio Constitution prohibits in-term changes to General Assembly members’ compensation (Article II, Section 31), so a member’s salary will not reflect this bill’s provisions until the commencement of their new term.  A General Assembly member appointed to fill a vacancy after the bill is enacted would receive a rate based on Ohio’s median household income as soon as that individual’s term commences.


Due to the above, Becker’s salary will not change this year. Therefore, he has pledged to donate a month’s net pay to community organizations if the bill is signed into law this year. Previously, Becker donated his net pay increase for all of 2019.


Under HB 695, General Assembly members’ annual salaries would fluctuate annually based on Ohio’s most recent statewide median household income according to U.S. Census Bureau Table B19013, or its successors, as available on December 31 of each year. 


The bill was formally introduced today as House Bill 695 and is expected to be referred to a standing committee for further consideration.


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For more information, contact Rep. Becker’s office at 614-466-8134 or rep65@ohiohouse.gov,


or Rep. Romanchuk’s office at 614-466-5802 or rep02@ohiohouse.gov.

 
 
 
  
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