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Minnesota lawmakers are getting a pay raise this summer

The citizen panel responsible for the decision has OK'd a small salary bump.

As of now, your representatives in the state capital make $45,000 a year, but soon they'll be earning a little more.

The Legislative Salary Council, a panel of private citizens established in 2017 to set lawmaker pay, has decided it's time legislators got a raise.

On Friday, they announced their decision to increase the legislative salary by $1,500, bringing it to $46,500 per year.

The raise will officially kick in on July 1, 2019. 

The council gave a list of reasons as to why they thought lawmakers should be making more; they include a rise in inflation, and wanting to match increasing wages in the private sector.

This is the second raise the panel has approved since its creation, which is thanks to a constitutional amendment that appeared on the November 2016 ballot.

The amendment gave the 16-member council (no lawmakers are on it) the authority to decide legislator pay every two years.

Before the council, state senators and representatives had the power to set their own pay – but they hardly ever gave themselves raises. As the National Conference of State Legislators pointed out in 2011, lawmakers voting to raise their own pay often causes a "political firestorm."

Indeed, before they got a pay bump from the council in 2017, Minnesota legislators hadn't given themselves a raise since 1999.

Interestingly, then-House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) made an effort to refuse the salary increase, saying the House shouldn't pay for it. 

After backlash from members of both parties, he ultimately let it go and allowed the raise go into effect. 

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