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October 20, 2014

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Lawmakers vote to cut their pay

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Assemblyman Jason Frierson addresses a bill to allow lawmakers to voluntarily take a pay cut during the third day of the 2013 legislative session Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 in Carson City.

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 | 9:19 p.m.

2013 Legislative Session - Day 3

The late afternoon sun casts a shadow of the Nevada state seal on the wall of the Legislative Building on the third day of the 2013 legislative session Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY--The 63 members of the state Senate and Assembly voted today to cut their own pay.

The money from the 4.8 percent, or $421.32 per lawmaker, reverts to the state's general fund.

It matches the 4.8 percent pay cut legislators imposed on state employees following the 2011 legislative session.

Altogether, the $26,542 is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the $6.5 billion proposed budget. But legislators say it's the thought that counts.

"It's solidarity with state employees, plain and simple," said Assemblyman David Bobzien, D-Reno.

Republican and Democratic leadership sponsored the resolution, which passed swiftly in the Senate and Assembly this morning.

Apart from the gesture, state employees can expect an additional $41 million in pay under Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget proposal.

Furlough days would decrease from six to three days, meaning state employees would essentially get three more paid days per year.

Beginning July 1, 2014, state employees would again begin to receive merit salary increases under the governor's budget proposal.

Legislators may feel inclined to restore more than the$41 million proposed by the governor, but there are no firm, public plans yet.

"Assembly Democrats recognize so much of the hits, this economic downturn, that state employees have borne a huge share of the burden," Bobzien said. "We know that morale is low and is untenable."

The bipartisan, unanimous vote today matched the cut legislators took during the 2011 session, said Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

Legislators will still collect their full per diem payments for the session. These total about $19,000 while legislative salaries, before the pay cut, are about $8,777 per session.

Legislators receive pay for 60 days of the 120-day legislative session.

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