On Tuesday, Senator Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) successfully secured Senate passage of a constitutional amendment he authored that will remove lawmaker’s power to set their own pay. As a result, the people of Minnesota will have an opportunity to vote on this amendment that, if passed, will remove a clear and glaring conflict of interest that is currently embedded in the state’s constitution. The amendment will be on the ballot in the presidential election year of 2016.
Senator Eken’s amendment received a strong bi-partisan vote of 40-24. “We should not spend one minute of the people’s time debating our pay,” Eken said. “Our focus should be on the people’s issues, not on our pay.”
Eken’s amendment establishes an independent and objective council of citizens who would be appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the governor. The 16 member council will be geographically and politically balanced. The council will have two members from each congressional district and it will be bi-partisan with representation evenly divided between the two major parties. In order to ensure objectivity and remove all conflict of interest, there are significant restrictions on who can serve.
No lawmakers or former lawmakers are allowed on the council. No spouses of lawmakers are allowed. No lobbyists or former lobbyists will be allowed. No employees of the legislature will be allowed. No constitutional officers or judges will be allowed. The question that will be placed on the ballot in 2016 is “Shall the constitution be amended to remove state lawmaker’s power to set their own salaries, and instead establish an independent, citizens-only council to prescribe salaries of lawmakers?”
For more information on this legislation, please contact Sen. Kent Eken at 651-296-3205 or by email at email@example.com.