Lawmakers discuss pay council

KIMT News 3

KIMT NEWS 3 — Right now legislators in Minnesota decide when they should get a raise.

It has not happened for more than a decade, but recently the state Senate passed a bill to give lawmakers a raise.

That decision has been met with some criticism and Friday afternoon, the House passed a constitutional amendment that would take decisions about their own pay out of their hands with a 69 to 62 vote. Now it goes to voters.

Most of us who work do not get to decide how much we get paid.

“Who determines your wages? It’s your employer. Who employs our Representatives and our Senators? The people of the state,” said Richard Cory of Bricelyn.

Like many people, Cory thinks voters should decide on raises for Minnesota state legislators.

“If they’re doing a good job, fine, pay them for it, but if not, vote them out,” Cory said.

It seems lawmakers are hearing some of the input from their constituents. Those in the House of Representatives have an idea to take their pay out of their hands.

“It would be a ballot measure asking the voters if the constitution should be amended that would allow for a council to determine what the compensation and salary would be for legislatures in the House and Senate as well as the constitutional officers and others,” said State Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin).

The council would be appointed by the governor and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It would be made up of one member from each of the state’s eight congressional districts, split equally between the two political parties.

“The public could be a little bit more engaged by determining, they will have to decide on the constitutional amendment, they’ll need to decide if that’s what they’d like to see happen is that it’s out of our hands,” Poppe said.

She hopes Minnesota residents will be happy with this solution.

“I would hope the reaction would be positive because that does seem to be something that people are concerned about is how do you get paid and when do you get paid, are you raising your own salary. It does become a political issue,” Poppe said.

Cory thinks the idea is a good start.

“It would probably be a step in the right direction, but ultimately it should be up to the voters and the taxpayers,” Cory said.

With the vote passed it will appear on the 2014 ballot where it is now in the hands of the voters.

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