Minnesota lawmakers are getting a $14,000 raise this year.
The Legislative Salary Council voted 13-1 Friday morning to increase lawmakers' pay to $45,000, marking their first raise since 1999. Currently, lawmakers make $31,140 (not including daily expenses and travel reimbursements, which can mean an additional $7,000 a year).
This 45 percent raise will take effect July 1.
Some who support the idea of raising legislators' pay think it will help attract people to run for office who otherwise couldn't afford to do so.
“We should be thinking we are setting salaries for what we are hoping is going to be new talent and representative members of our society who want to serve their state but need to be compensated in a manner that allows them to be whole,” Sherrie Pugh, a member of the Legislative Salary Council, said, according to MPR News.
The raise will end up costing the state treasury $2.8 million a year, MPR News says, noting lawmakers will have to vote to allocate that money.
Remember that constitutional amendment on the ballot?
Friday's vote to raise lawmakers' pay is all tied to the constitutional amendment that was on the November ballot.
Minnesotans approved the amendment, which gave the 16-member Legislative Salary Council (no lawmakers are on the council) the authority to decide legislator pay every two years.
Before this year, state senators and representatives had the power to set their own pay – but they hardly ever gave themselves raises, because, well, it’s a little awkward. Plus, raising their own pay can be a political firestorm, the National Conference of State Legislators said.
What do other states do?
About 20 states have an independent council that decides legislator pay, according to MinnPost. Three of the states have councils that pay legislators more than what Minnesota lawmakers make, including California. Legislators there make the most in the nation – a salary of more than $100,000, a 2016 survey by the National Conference of State Legislators shows.
Overall, lawmakers in most states don’t make very much. Research done in 2014 found the median base pay for a lawmaker was $20,833, FiveThirtyEight said in a story that tries to tackle how much lawmakers should get paid.