Two state representatives offered differing viewpoints on the recent pay raise for state legislators on Friday’s edition of The Barry Richard Show on WBSM.

The bill came about after an advisory committee pushed it through last week, the day before the Presidential Inauguration, in quick fashion. The bill then passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives 115-44, and on Thursday it passed in the State Senate, 31-9. Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the bill on Friday, but it has enough votes that his veto will likely be overturned.

All told, it will increase the salaries of lawmakers, constitutional officers and judges a total of about $18 million.

First, Representative Shaunna O’Connell of the 3rd Bristol District called into say that, while some legislators are saying they won’t accept the increase in pay, she’s going to take the extra money and donate it to charity.


“I feel like I could do a lot more better things with it than the legislature could,” Rep. O’Connell said, noting that if she didn’t take the money, it would go back into the general fund. “I’m going to make some donations. I’ve already thought about who I am going to make donations to. I’m going to go about it that way rather than let the legislature keep it and spend it on themselves.”

Rep. O’Connell said what was really shocking was the way it all went down, and how quickly.

“It’s pretty outrageous, pretty frustrating,” she said. “We see bills, very important bills, sit and languish in the legislature for five, 10, 13 years.”

She especially didn’t like the way the bill was brought to the forefront after being something that had been sitting around for awhile.
“The way the process worked, (it) was designed to really try to avoid public scrutiny, avoid public input,” Rep. O’Connell said. “They wanted to get this thing passed as quickly as they could, so that they could make it go away as quickly as they could.”

Later in the show, State Representative Antonio Cabral of the 13th Bristol District came into the studio and said that the bill really wasn’t for a pay raise per se.

“I did not vote myself a pay raise,” Rep. Cabral said. “My salary is set by the (state) constitution, and it gets adjusted up and down every two years by the governor.”

Rep. Cabral said that was the Massachusetts House and Senate passed is actually a bill to allow for the increase in stipends for those in leadership positions or with committee assignments. He said there has not been an increase in those stipends in decades.

“Those positions have not been adjusted in over 30 years,” he said. “There’s never a perfect time, obviously, we all know that. But these positions come with additional responsibility, and I think at some point you need to make those adjustments.”

Rep. Cabral also said that this bill would put into place a mechanism to ensure that those adjustments can be made again in the future.

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