Lawmakers Discuss Council On Touchy Pay Issue

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — The size of paychecks for lawmakers could be set by an appointed council if voters amend the Minnesota Constitution in 2016.

The House voted 69 to 63 Thursday for legislation dictating the composition and role of a special independent pay council. The board would be established if voters adopt a constitutional amendment in 2016 to remove power of lawmakers to set their pay.

The measure’s backers say it removes an inherent conflict of interest and takes a politically charged matter out of the Capitol. Opponents see it as camouflage for near-certain pay hikes and argue it lessens accountability.

Legislators haven’t seen a pay raise since 1999, and some worry that the $31,000 salary is become a barrier for some prospective candidates. Lawmaker pay is supplemented by expense allowances during session.

Minnesota legislators are paid less than their Wisconsin counterparts, but more than those in Iowa and the Dakotas.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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