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Judges, law enforcement officers to get raises

(MGN)

Florida Supreme Court justices are in line for a 24 percent pay raise in the new state budget.

The 2018-2019 budget, which is expected to be approved Sunday, would provide $42,180 raises for the seven justices on the state’s highest court, increasing their salaries to $220,600.

Lawmakers said a factor in the raise is that three vacancies will have to be filled in January as longtime justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince leave the bench because of a mandatory retirement age.

House and Senate leaders finished negotiating the budget Thursday and published it, setting up an expected vote Sunday following a 72-hour “cooling off” period. The budget then will go to Gov. Rick Scott, who has line-item veto power.

Under the spending plan, assistant state attorneys and assistant public defenders would receive $2,000 pay raises or $4,000, if they have more than three years of service.

The new budget does not include a general pay raise for state employees, but it would provide a 7 percent pay hike for law-enforcement officers working in various state agencies including the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The increase would be 10 percent for officers with more than 10 years of service.

State firefighters would receive $2,500 pay raises in the new year. Probation and detention officers in the Department of Juvenile Justice would receive a 10 percent pay raise.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam issued a statement thanking lawmakers for pay raises for his department’s law-enforcement officers and wildland firefighters, describing them as “demonstrably underpaid compared to other state and local agencies.”

“These raises will help us recruit and retain the best of the best to keep Floridians and visitors safe when lives and property are on the line,” Putnam said.

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