Posted at 1:50 PM on May 12, 2008 by Michael Marchio (3 Comments)
Let's see what your lawmakers say about their own pay.
1:45 - Rep. Hosch has offered an amendment that would add the per diem pay of lawmakers to the jurisdiction of these citizen councils. Rep. Eken, the sponsor of the bill, said he'd support that and urged members to support it, but its drawing fire from both sides of the aisle.
1:50 - Rep. Emmer is making the point that per diem is has been basically treated as a salary increase by lawmakers in everything but name. He says he knows that lawmakers work harder than anybody realizes, but that the whole bill is wrong because if they want to increase their pay, they should just vote to do it outright, not doll it up as "per diem" or ask a council to do it for them.
1:57 - Rep. Kohls has offered an oral amendment to add housing costs to the council's duties too.
2:06 - Rep. Juhnke says that both per diem and housing are inappropriate and they were specifically rejected in the Rules Committee. He said adding things like per diem pay and housing expenses to the state constitution is overkill.
2:08 - The Kohls housing amendment failed.
2:12 - Rep. Carlson said that back in the day, the Legislature gave higher per diem pay to lawmakers from outside of 50 miles, and that it took a long time to bring fairness to that. He's concerned that this could change back again.
2:15 - The per diem amendment was adopted, so if the bill is adopted, that will be in the council's purview.
2:18 - Rep. Kohls is saying that allowing an unelected committee to decide lawmaker pay is irresponsible.
2:20 - Rep. Eken, the author of the bill said "I don't think the people of Minnesota sent us down here to debate our own pay," and that "there's a direct conflict of interest here that needs to be removed."
2:28 - Rep. Kohls has sponsored an amendment that would require the legislature to approve whatever plan the citizen's council comes up with, but it's shot down too.
2:37 - Check this out, Rep. Mark Buesgens has offered an amendment to do this:
Page 1, lines 2, 3, and 4, delete "per diem" and insert "walking around money."
Amendments as jokes are always appreciated.
2:40 - Rep. Buesgens amendment was shouted down on a voice vote, and they just gave the bill third reading, the last step before final statements and the vote.
2:45 - Rep. Liebeling is saying that lawmakers don't actually vote for their own salaries, they vote for next bienniums lawmakers salaries. She said they ought to be accountable, so she won't vote for it.
2:50 - Rep. Dennis Ozment asked how many blue collar workers are in the Legislature. He said "For years, I've watched as the Legislature cut the legs out from under it." He said he thinks that its important for a citizen-legislature to be made up of citizens, and that in recent years the low lawmaker pay has meant more full-time public servants have joined.
2:55 - Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, who said she'd be retiring after her district decided to delay her nomination, said they should pass the bill. One of the reasons that she gave for her retirement was that she needed to work on putting her kids through college.
2:58 - It passes, 90 to 43. Sen. Pogemiller said at the end of last week they'd probably be taking it up, so the bill is on its way over there.
I love Erhardt's comments about getting paid by the speech - to his list, I'd add Rep. Kohls, Rep. Buesgens, though he is certainly right that Brod and Olson would be rich if that was the criterion!
Posted by Aaron | May 12, 2008 2:52 PM
If they were paid by the speech, though, Rep. Erhardt wouldn't be doing that bad. Some lawmakers never utter a peep on the floor.
Posted by Michael Marchio | May 12, 2008 3:05 PM
And, I might add, if cranky-ol-man wit was paid at a premium, Erhardt would be doing just fine, as well, thank you very much!
Posted by Aaron | May 12, 2008 3:07 PM