LANSING (AP) With a generous pay raise already secured for lawmakers and other top state officials, the Michigan Senate voted unanimously yesterday to make such boosts harder in the future.

On a 34-0 vote with little debate, the Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment to require lawmakers to approve any future increase in pay or expense allowances. Now, proposals by the State Officers Compensation Commission take effect automatically unless rejected by two-thirds vote in the House or Senate.

A pay increase proposal took effect after the Senate failed to act on it last week.

“There was a lot of public outrage,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.). “Now is the time to act. We need to lobby our colleagues in the House.”

If passed by the House by at least a two-thirds vote, the proposal would go on the ballot for a vote of the people. The only senators not voting for the proposal were Detroit Democrats Jackie Vaughn and Joe Young Jr., who were absent.

Instead of permitting automatic approval of pay commission recommendations, it would require legislative approval of any pay or expense increases. And any such increase would occur only in the next legislative session, requiring a general election before the boosts took effect.

Finally, the Legislature could amend downward but not upward recommendations from the pay commission, not just accept or reject them as now.

“No other issue in my 10 years in the Legislature has caused more damage to the reputation of the Legislature than the mechanism by which our pay is raised,” said Sen. Dianne Byrum (D-Onondaga). “It is long past due that we change this system.”

The Senate vote came a week after the chamber, by not acting, let a new pay raise take effect for this year and next year. It had been rejected by the state House.

The raise calls for a 35.8 percent increase for state lawmakers this year, lifting them to $77,400 a year 13.7 percent for governor 19.6 percent for lieutenant governor and 13.6 percent for Supreme Court justices. Next year, they all will get a 2.9 percent increase.

Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow (R-Port Huron) said the proposed constitutional amendment passed by the Senate is likely to force the House to follow suit.

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