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Bill tweaks proposed amendment on lawmaker pay

ST. PAUL - Minnesota representatives approved a bill to clarify a constitutional amendment about legislators' pay that voters will consider in 2016.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which passed last year, will carry the title "Remove lawmakers' power to set their own pay" under the bill by Rep. Jason Metsa, D-Virginia, which passed 69-63. Sen. Kent Eken, D-Twin Valley, is the Senate sponsor.

The amendment would establish a citizens' council to set legislators’ salaries. Lawmakers now set their own pay, but have not done so for years, at least in part because of political implications of doing so.

The House inserted into the amendment provisions to ban legislators' spouses and legislative employees from the citizens' council. Legislators already were not allowed.

“The people of Minnesota ought to be the ones determining who sets legislative pay levels,” Metsa said. “We need to let voters have a say on this issue and remove the conflict of interest in our current system."

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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