Proposal Floats Idea of Full-Time Lawmakers

State analysts would be asked to study whether the role of state lawmakers should become more of a full-time occupation with higher pay, under a proposal filed Monday. Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando, wants the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, known as OPPAGA, to study and recommend if the Legislature should be full-time, part-time, or a hybrid and if salary increases are needed.

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The proposal (HB 1183) also would ask OPPAGA to consider if Cabinet members — the attorney general, chief financial officer and agriculture commissioner — should draw pay that is comparable to other large states. Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reported receiving just over $132,000 in state pay in 2021 as part of their 2022 financial disclosure reports.

Former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried reported drawing just under $129,000 from the state in 2021.

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Lawmakers, who are supposed to serve part-time, on average receive $29,697 a year for the job, with some per-diem amounts and additional reimbursements for travel during committee weeks and special sessions. Just over half of the Legislature has reported net worths topping $1 million. Antone was elected to the House in 2022 after serving terms from 2002 to 2006 and from 2012 to 2020.

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