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Associated Press, Published May 17 2013

Minn. House passes lawmaker pay hike panel

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House has approved a 2016 constitutional amendment that would take decisions about legislative pay raises out of the hands of lawmakers themselves.

The House passed the amendment on Friday by a 69-62 vote. If put on the ballot and passed by voters, it would create a legislative pay council appointed by the governor and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The council's members would be split equally between the two political parties, and could not include current or former legislators. House Republicans criticized Democrats for bringing up the issue in the session's final days before finishing the state budget.

The state Senate passed a bill to give lawmakers their first pay raise in more than a decade, but that met with criticism. The House vote sent the amendment to the Senate for a final vote.

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