- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The chairman of the independent council that approved $14,000 raises for Minnesota lawmakers says lawyers will have to decide whether Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt can block the pay increase.

Minnesota voters created the Legislative Salary Council through a November constitutional amendment that removed lawmakers’ ability to set their own pay. That council on Friday affirmed its decision to raise salaries from roughly $31,000 to $45,000 in July.

But Daudt said this week that he’ll block the first legislative pay increase since 1999, raising constitutional questions.

Chairman Tom Stinson says the dispute may head to the courts but the council won’t be involved. He says he didn’t consider decreasing the size of the raise to make it more palatable to lawmakers scared of voter backlash.

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