Jackson County jurors are about to get a raise.
The County Legislature this week signed off on a plan presented by the courts to raise daily pay of those seated on a jury from $6 to $18. It takes effect Aug. 1.
The low pay has been a point of concern for some time, and some solutions have been proposed in the Missouri General Assembly.
“I will say $6 is embarrassing,” said County Legislature Chair Theresa Galvin, R-Lee’s Summit.
Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge David M. Byrn used much the same language in a letter outlining the new plan several weeks ago.
He noted that among the state’s 114 counties, Jackson County remained just one of 16 – none of them large like Jackson County – at the $6 rate. That was as of 2013, the last year from which the state made data available.
“The pay for Jackson County citizens serving as jurors is embarrassingly low and has not increased for years …” Byrn wrote, noting that they also get seven cents a mile for travel.
“It is the responsibility of all citizens who are summoned, to serve as jurors, and no one serves seeking financial reward,” he continued. “However, no one should endure significant financial hardship as a result of serving as a juror.”
The state of Missouri is covering half of the increase, so the cost to local taxpayers is estimated at $36,500 a year. The courts identified some insurance costs they could do without to cover the county’s portion.