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House Bill 746 — Judicial compensation (0)

House Bill 746 — Judicial compensation (0)

Parrish Miller
March 26, 2024

Bill Description: House Bill 746 would increase judges' salaries by 3% or less. It also offers a $25,000 incentive to judges who choose not to retire before the end of a term, so the seat can be filled by election rather than appointment.

Rating: 0

NOTE: House Bill 746 is related to House Bill 713, but spends more and provides less value.

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

House Bill 746 would amend Section 59-502, Idaho Code, to increase the annual salary of the justices of the Supreme Court from $165,212 to $169,508. This is a 2.6% increase. The salaries of other judges would increase accordingly because they are based on Supreme Court salaries. The largest increase, 3%, would go to magistrate judges. These increases are the same as those found in House Bill 713.

This increase is consistent with the statewide change in employee compensation (CEC) of up to 3%, which is based on a 1% across-the-board increase plus an additional 2% merit-based raise. 


Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?

House Bill 746 would also amend sections 1-2001 and 1-2224, Idaho Code, to award a $25,000 retirement bonus to any Supreme Court justice, judge of the court of appeals, district judge of the district court, or magistrate judge who chooses to retire at the conclusion of his or her term so that "the retiring judge is replaced in office by a judge who is elected, not appointed." The election stipulation does not apply to magistrate judges who are always appointed.

This retirement bonus is very different from what is proposed by House Bill 713, which says that if one of these judges elects to retire before the end of his or her term, "the judicial vacancy created shall remain vacant until a qualified candidate … is successfully elected during the next available judicial election." This is a superior solution to the problem of judges retiring before the end of their terms in order to usher in their preferred successors through appointment rather than election. 

It is unclear if this bonus would discourage this practice to a meaningful extent, and it will impose an additional cost on taxpayers, regardless.


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