A special commission today gave final approval to raising state lawmakers’ pay to 45 thousand dollars, even as Speaker Kurt Daudt says the Minnesota House won’t appropriate nearly three million dollars for the pay raises. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says he doesn’t see any way around a constitutional mandate and predicts the courts will tell lawmakers they must do this. The Republican from Nisswa says, “If we don’t do that, it automatically will come out of the budget as I understand it, because if it’s constitutionally-mandated, that’s the first dollars that are gonna come out, and we’re gonna have to figure out what to do with the rest of the budget.”
Voters last fall approved a constitutional amendment that took away from state lawmakers the power to set their own salaries and gave that authority to a special commission. But House Speaker Daudt says it’s difficult for his members to take that kind of pay increase when middle-class families aren’t getting it.