FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - State police officers with the Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement are asking lawmakers for a raise. They are asking for an extra $1.7 million a year because their 100 officers don't receive the same pay as state troopers.
Proponents of House Bill 312 say equal work deserves equal pay.
CVE officers primarily enforce laws regarding commercial vehicles on highways, but they can also provide support to Kentucky State Police troopers handling criminal complaints. Their training is similar but not the same.
The department is concerned about morale and turnover because their officers salaries start at $28,000, but troopers start off making $38,000.
It's an uphill battle because Governor Matt Bevin is trying to trim fat from the budget to make up for a multi-billion dollar pension shortfall.
The budget woes played into the Labor and Industry Committee Thursday morning when one lawmaker voted against House Bill 312, saying it would present another budget difficulty.
Despite the budget challenges, CVE officers are asking lawmakers to consider the raise because they put themselves in harm's way every day.
"Any of these officers that make a traffic stop, they pull that vehicle over they don't know what's on the other side of that window and any of them, any troopers, any officers, that could be their last traffic stop," said Rep. Tim Couch.
CVE officers were careful to point out that they aren't trying to pull money or credit away from troopers. They tell WKYT they simply don't want pay discrimination to exist based on the color of their uniforms.
The bill was approved on Thursday so it will now go before the Appropriations and Revenue Committee. If it is approved there, it will head to the House for a vote.
Federal funds would cover one third of the $1.7 million that have been requested.