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The pay for representatives who serve in state legislatures varies dramatically from state to state. One key factor is how frequently the legislature or assembly meets, with those that meet more frequently tending to pay representatives larger salaries, and those that just meet biennially (like Texas), for example, tending to pay legislators less.
2011 Salary of Texas Legislators
Texas state representatives and state senators receive an annual salary of $7,200, or $14,400 for each two-year term. Except for special sessions, the Texas Legislature meets biennially for a single 100-day session.
History of Texas Legislative Salaries
Until 1960, Texas legislators served unpaid. In 1960, a law was passed that legislators could receive up to maximum of $4,800 a year, but that further increases must be approved by voters statewide. In 1975, Texas voters increased legislative salaries to $7,200.
Salaries of Other State Legislators
As of 2007, legislators in New Hampshire receive the smallest salary at just $200 per two-year term, and legislators in California receive the highest at $113,098 annually. Legislators in New York and Michigan also receive quite generous annual salaries of $79,500 and $70,650, respectively.
Per Diem Expenses
Texas does, however, offer one of the most generous per diem expenses for legislators at $139 a day during session as of 2007. The per diem amount is calculated by the Texas Ethics Commission.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.