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Lawmakers Consider Pay Raise for State Troopers

Lawmakers discussed increasing the salaries of highway patrol officers today but didn't vote on the raises. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

A committee of lawmakers from the House and Senate met Monday to work out the differences between the two chambers on the state budget.

One major difference has to do with salaries for highway patrol officers.

The House budget proposal includes a salary adjustment that would be phased in over five years.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee Carl Bearden says without the increase, the patrol isn't able to compete with other law enforcement entities for new employees.

And Democratic Representative Frank Barnitz says while lawmakers continue to put new demands on the patrol, they haven't given them enough additional funding.

He says it's unreasonable to expect the patrol to perform new duties without new resources.

Some senators argue it's wrong to treat the patrol differently than other state agencies that are also having difficulty with employee recruitment and retention.

After the committee agrees on a compromise budget plan, each chamber will vote on the budget.

The constitutional deadline requires that to happen by Friday.