Michelle Southern reporting.
The Joint Legislative Committee on the budget approved a 20% pay raise for state troopers. The original request from Col. Mike Edmonson was for a 30% increase but the measure was amended down to 20% reducing the cost from about $14 million to about $10 million.
Opelousas Senator Elbert Guillory says this is an easy item to support.
"The first priority of spending should be the protection of the safety of the people of Louisiana," said Guillory.
Edmonson says this will be the first pay raise for Louisiana State troopers since 2002.
Monroe Representative Katrina Jackson says supporting a pay hike for LSP is the right thing to do.
"Not for political reasons, not because it scores points back home," said Jackson. "But because for the last 12 years you made the difficult decision to work without an increase to your pay grid."
Much of the push back today came from lawmakers who argued the request came as somewhat of a surprise and the process was too rushed. Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue voted against the measure.
He told Edmonson that while he supports troopers, the state simply can not afford to speed through making a decision on so much money.
"I am not comfortable with you coming to the table with a 30-35% figure, and we sit here and negotiate this down to 10 million dollars," said Donahue. "And I still don't know what the overall affect is."
Benton Senator Robert Adley, who also voted against the measure, says it’s against the law to give troopers money out of the designated fund until the dollars are appropriated by the legislature.
But Edmonson says that is not accurate.
"It says put the money forward and that has been done and I don't want to argue with you," said Edmonson.
"Col," Adley says. "That's not what it says, be honest with these people."
The vote from the House side was 24-5 and the Senate side 13-3.