Lawmaker pay amendment to go on 2016 ballot

Voters will decide whether an independent commission should be created to set the pay of state legislators. The Minnesota Senate voted early this morning to put the question on the 2016 ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment.

Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, says he thinks the commission is a better option than allowing lawmakers to determine their own pay.

“Every single one of us would acknowledge that we are not the most objective ones to determine what our pay should be,” Eken said. “It needs to be an outside group of citizens who have no direct benefit from the decisions that they make.”

The Senate measure had bipartisan support. Critics say lawmakers should not be considering a pay raise at a time when the DFL-controlled Legislature is raising $2 billion in taxes.

Democrats in the House and Senate dropped a measure from a state government budget bill that would have given lawmakers a salary increase after the next election.