How and Why the Commission was Created

We were created by House Joint Resolution 49, an amendment to the state Constitution, that authorized creation of an independent, citizen commission to set the salaries of the state's elected officials. That constitutional amendment was passed by the voters on November 4, 1986.

Prior to the passage of the constitutional amendment, the 1986 Legislature passed a bill (ESHB 1331) to establish the Commission contingent upon passage of the constitutional amendment. That bill also defined how the salary setting work is to be accomplished.

The purpose for creating the Commission was to establish salaries that reflect the duties of the state's elected officials and to remove political considerations from the process.

The first rotation of commissioners were appointed in February 1987 and began the work of setting the elected officials' salaries that same month. The Commission is responsible for setting the salaries of the the elected officials in the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Branches of state government including:

  • Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commissioner of Public Lands, and the Insurance Commissioner.
  • Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Court of Appeals, Superior Courts, and District Courts.
  • Members of the Legislature

In total, we set the salaries of 515 elected state officials; the majority are positions in the Judiciary.