Hawaii’s lawmakers earn close to $50,000 annually for a job that is officially part time. The Legislature is in session four months out of the year, and most lawmakers earn additional pay from other full-time jobs.

Civil Beat filed a request under the state’s open records law with the Hawaii Senate and House of Representatives asking for the names, positions and salaries of all employees of the Legislature, including support staff.

The Legislature provided a list of 296 employees, including the state’s 23 senators and 51 representatives. (Two Senate positions are vacant. Not included on the list are the salaries of Laura Figueira and Ronald Kouchi, who were named to temporarily fill the positions vacated by former senators Bobby Bunda and Gary Hooser, who both resigned in July to run for lieutenant governor.)

The list shows Hawaii’s lawmakers currently earn $46,272.48. (The Senate president and House speaker earn $7,126 more annually.) That figure includes a 36-percent pay raise received in 2009, which added $12,808 more a year to their salaries around the same time that Gov. Linda Lingle proposed cuts in wages and benefits to state workers. That 36 percent raise was followed by a 5 percent pay cut effective from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011. The cut which was imposed on all state department heads and executive positions.

Here’s the document the Legislature shared with Civil Beat.

Civil Beat is making available to its full members a searchable database of the names, positions and salaries provided by the Legislature. To see an example, please go here. (Such databases are also available for state government and University of Hawaii employees.

The higher pay for lawmakers was recommended by a salary commission created by a 2006 constitutional amendment. The group, appointed mostly by Senate President Colleen Hanabusa and House Speaker Calvin Say, can give lawmakers pay raises they don’t have to vote on.

And more increases are in the works. The commission approved a series of raises that will total 56 percent by 2014 — from $35,900 to $58,000.

The data obtained by Civil Beat shows the House and Senate have similar sized support staffs. There are 116 employees in the House and 106 in the Senate, not including lawmakers.

Four employees at the Legislature earn six-figure salaries, all in the House of Representatives: the chief attorney, chief clerk, Sergeant at Arms, and director of research. On the Senate side, the highest paid employees are the chief clerk and an administrative assistant, who earn $90,000 and $90,720, respectively.

The lowest salary in the House is $32,916 and the lowest in the Senate is $31,200, much higher than at either the University of Hawaii or in state government.

The most common position in the House is an office manager. There are 42 full-time office managers, who all are paid $43,308 annually. In the Senate, there is one office manager, who is paid $40,200, but there are 46 full-time legislative assistants, who receive pay ranging from a low of $36,000 to a high of $52,800.

Here’s the searchable database of the 296 employees in the Hawaii Legislature.

About the Author