Minnesota voters could have say in lawmakers' power to set their own pay

By KBJR News 1

Minnesota voters could have say in lawmakers' power to set their own pay

May 8, 2014 Updated May 8, 2014 at 8:56 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota House finalized a constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot to remove state lawmakers' power to set their own pay.

The amendment approved by the House would ask voters:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to remove state lawmakers' power to set their own salaries, and instead establish an independent, citizens-only council to prescribe salaries for lawmakers?"

Under the Minnesota Constitution, legislators are currently in charge of setting their own compensation.

The 2016 constitutional amendment gives voters the ability to weigh in on this inherent conflict of interest.

If voters pass the amendment, legislators will no longer set their own salary and other forms of compensation. Instead, a compensation council of 16 citizens (8 people appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and eight people appointed by the Governor) who would set legislative compensation.

No former or current legislators or lobbyists could serve on the council and none of the members of the council may be the spouse of a current legislator.

The compensation council could choose to increase or decrease legislative pay, taking that decision out of the hands of state legislators as is currently prescribed in Minnesota's Constitution.

The compensation council would still make recommendations to the Legislature for constitutional officers and the judicial branch, which would need to be passed by the Legislature to go into effect.

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