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< Session ending in a bang (literally) | Main | Maybe no constitutional amendment >


Hey, we might get a constitutional amendment

Posted at 9:46 PM on May 18, 2008 by Michael Marchio

Sen. Tarryl Clark's HF3796, the constitutional amendment to have a citizen's council set lawmaker pay, is being intoduced on the Senate floor. The mood in the Capitol suggested that lawmakers were about to call it a session, but maybe not.

Here's the wording of the question:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to remove legislators' ability to set their own salaries and per diem, and instead establish a citizens-only council to prescribe salaries and per diem for legislators?"

Sen. Geoff Michel says that they spent nine years on the constitutional amendment for ourdoor heritage funding, and doesn't think its okay they're going to spend a half an hour on this one. He says if they want a pay raise, then they should vote for one.

To clarify, no one knows whether the citizen's council would raise or lower lawmaker pay.

Sen. Dennis Fredrickson (R-New Ulm) says there's an inherent conflict of interest when lawmakers have to set their own pay, and he supports putting this amendment on the ballot.

Here's who would be on it: One person from each congressional district appointed by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and one from each district appointed by the governor. Half appointed by each must be registered members of whatever party has the most members in the Legislature, and the other half, the party with the second most members, so half must be DFLer and half Republicans. No love for the Greens or Independence Party.

It was just tabled, and the Senate is now taking up SF2651, the omnibus fish and game bill.

UPDATE: It passed unanimously.