Summary of state dual employment laws

Dual Employment: Regulating Public Jobs for Legislators

Updated as of April 2012

Table of States and Territories
(This table only addresses cases of concurrent employment, not when a legislator also receives public funds from a retirement or military pension.) 

Many state legislators balance their public office with other employment, although they face regulations that address the type of jobs they may have. Regulations exist in the areas of holding another elected office, becoming a lobbyist, having a contract with government and representing a client before state government. States also have regulated state legislators holding another public sector job. Dual employment, also known as double-dipping, is the practice of drawing two government incomes from current employment. Dual employment laws vary considerably among the 50 states and generally fall into six categories.

1.  Seventeen states place no restrictions on state legislators holding other employment at the state or local level.  They are Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

2.  Seven states, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia allow legislators to hold state (and political subdivisions thereof) employment as long as the legislator is not paid more than once for coincident hours of the workday.

3.  Arkansas and Rhode Island allow legislators to hold employment at the state or local level as long as the legislator was hired as an employee before being elected to office.  Arkansas also describes the types of employment promotions and salary increases allowed while the employee serves as a legislator. 

4.  Employment positions that could conflict with duties as a state legislator are banned in six states, Florida, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin.

5.  Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio and Oregon ban all public employment for state legislators except for public school employment. Alabama bans public employment, except for certain types of public school employment until November 2014 and provides other exemptions for certain part-time employment arrangements. Kentucky specifies employment at the university and community college level.

6.  State legislators are prohibited from holding any employment at the state or local level in nine states and three territories.  They are California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five other states, Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Jersey and Oklahoma ban employment at the state level. Alaska, Hawaii and New Jersey do not ban employment at the local level.  In Oklahoma, municipal employees can be candidates for state legislative office, but must resign upon election. In Nebraska, according to an attorney general opinion, the law is unsettled whether legislators can hold local employment.

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