Current Montana law (2-16-403) provides that the salaries for the state’s supreme court are to be based on the salaries of judges in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho. The Department of Administration takes the salaries for these justices/chief justices, averages them, and raises (if needed) the Montana justice’s salaries to meet the average.
A draft bill requested by a Republican member of the Montana Senate would end the practice. Under D. 567 the salary of the seven highest paid nonjudicial Montana state employees would be used. The salaries of the seven would be averaged and used to set the salaries for the supreme court.
Interestingly, the bill as currently drafted would not end the same practice of averaging the salaries in the 4 surrounding states with respect to the District Court. 3-5-211 sets the same practice, but is not covered in D. 567.