How legislators are compensated, or paid, for their work as public officials is outlined in Title 5, Part 2 of the 2009 Montana Code Annotated.
5-2-301. Compensation and expenses for members while in session.
(1) Legislators are entitled to a salary commensurate to that of the daily rate for an employee earning $11.33 an hour when the regular session of the legislature in which they serve is convened under 5-2-103 for those days during which the legislature is in session. The hourly rate must be adjusted by any statutorily required pay increase. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house must receive an additional $5 a day in salary for those days during which the legislature is in session.
(2) Legislators may serve for no salary.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), legislators are entitled to a daily allowance, 7 days a week, during a legislative session, as reimbursement for expenses incurred in attending a session. Expense payments must stop when the legislature recesses for more than 3 days and resume when the legislature reconvenes.
(4) After November 15, and prior to December 15 of each even-numbered year, the department of administration shall conduct a survey of the allowance for daily expenses of legislators for the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho. The department shall include the average daily expense allowance for Montana legislators in determining the average daily rate for legislators. The department shall include only states with specific daily allowances in the calculation of the average. If the average daily rate is greater than the daily rate for legislators in Montana, legislators are entitled to a new daily rate for those days during which the legislature is in session. The new daily rate is the daily rate for the prior legislative session, increased by the percentage rate increase as determined by the survey, a cost-of-living increase to reflect inflation that is calculated pursuant to 15-6-134, or 5%, whichever is less. The expense allowance is effective when the next regular session of the legislature in which the legislators serve is convened under 5-2-103.
(5) Legislators are entitled to a mileage allowance as provided in 2-18-503 for each mile of travel to the place of the holding of the session and to return to their place of residence at the conclusion of the session.
(6) In addition to the mileage allowance provided for in subsection (5), legislators, upon submittal of an appropriate claim for mileage reimbursement to the legislative services division, are entitled to: (a) three additional round trips to their place of residence during each regular session; and (b) additional round trips as authorized by the legislature during special session.
(7) Legislators are not entitled to any additional mileage allowance under subsection (5) for a special session if it is convened within 7 days of a regular session.
5-2-302. Compensation and expenses when legislature not in session. When the legislature is not in session, a member of the legislature, while engaged in legislative business with prior authorization of the appropriate funding authority, is entitled to:
(1) a mileage allowance as provided in 2-18-503;
(2) expenses as provided in 2-18-501 and 2-18-502; and
(3) a salary equal to one full day's pay at the rate described in 5-2-301(1) for each 24-hour period of time (from midnight to midnight), or portion of a 24-hour period, spent away from home on authorized legislative business. However, if time spent for business other than authorized legislative business results in lengthening a legislator's stay away from home into an additional 24-hour period, the legislator may not be compensated for the additional day.
For more information about salary and compensation, contact Legislative Financial Services at (406) 444-9542.