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Reality Check Update: Minn. Lawmakers’ Paychecks

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77648_Pat Kessler WEB Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — WCCO-TV’s Reality Check reported last week that an overwhelming majority of Minnesota lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, are getting paid during the shutdown. Now, one legislator says there’s something wrong with that.

Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, has written a bill requiring legislators to forfeit their pay if there’s ever another shutdown.

Cornish’s bill would end regular pay immediately, and more.

It would also cut off per diem pay, money they get for lodging when they are at the Capitol, mileage from home to St. Paul, and even health insurance premiums that the state pays.

Cornish, who is not taking a paycheck during the shutdown, said that if other legislators didn’t get paid, the shutdown might end sooner.

“I’m still a fiscally conservative Republican,” said Cornish, who is serving his fifth term in the Minnesota House. “I’m not deserting my party over this, but I want to bring the same amount of pressure on everybody. A hundred and thirty-nine legislators still taking pay? To the general public, that just doesn’t look right.”

Cornish said he’ll try to introduce the shutdown pay ban when the legislature meets in special session — whenever that is.

If he’s not successful, it’ll be first on his agenda in 2012.

Update: State Senator John Howe, R-Red Wing, is donating his legislative salary to three food shelves in the district he serves. Howe saied he made arrangements with the food shelves in Goodhue, Winona and Wabasha Counties before the July 1 shutdown began.

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