The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 9, 2013

Plan to boost lawmaker pay in Minn. budget bill

ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers would get their first pay boosts since the late 1990s under a budget proposal rolled out Tuesday in the Senate that also includes salary increases for the governor and top agency leaders.

The governor's $120,303-a-year base pay would go up 3 percent in 2015 and again in 2016. The wage would then be tied to annual inflation.

Legislators would see an even bigger bump because their pay would be set at one-third of what the governor makes. That would take their $31,140-a-year salaries to $40,890 in 2015.

The rates largely mirror recommendations from an independent panel known as the Compensation Council. Past council proposals have fallen flat because lawmakers are squeamish about the appearance of helping themselves financially even as many grumble about the amount they make.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said he realizes it will be a tough vote for lawmakers but one that is overdue. A member of the Legislature for 19 years, Bakk said he has had one raise in that time and is finding it tough to recruit people willing to serve at the wage offered.

"I'm hoping we'll show some courage on the pay issue for legislators and for commissioners," said Bakk, DFL-Cook. "This can't just be a place where only the wealthy can serve. It needs to be a place where we can find good middle-class Minnesotans who can economically afford to take six months off their job and come here."

Second-term Sen. Dan Hall, R-Burnsville, said "the job is twice the job I expected it to be" but the prospect of authorizing raises while working through a budget deficit and tepid economy isn't ideal.

"Legislators should make more," Hall said. "It's a question of whether it is the right time to do it."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014

  • Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA Bill would allow vets to go to private doctors

    July 24, 2014

  • Wetland Loss [Duplicate] Report says Prairie Pothole region losing wetlands BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Federal officials and conservationists say a recent report detailing wetland losses in the five-state Prairie Pothole Region over the past decade highlights the need for increased protection for the region that provides breeding

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • France: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, the plane's owner and a French government official said. Air navigation services lost

    July 24, 2014

  • Migrant children face test in Dallas immigration court DALLAS — In a packed Dallas immigration courtroom, Elsy Garcia sits next to her 16-year-old brother, Jose. She last saw him when he was 9, when she fled their home in Usulutan in southern El Salvador. Now Jose is facing deportation. His case is conf

    July 24, 2014

  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014