Daudt Drops Pay Raise Fight in Midst of Lawsuit

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House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Minority Paul Gazelka answer questions following another round of negotiations (Preya Samsundar/Alpha News)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives are not happy with House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s (R-Crown) decision to forgo the constitutionally mandated legislative pay raise passed in 2017, so much so that his own members have decided to take him to court.

State Reps. Rena Moran (D-St. Paul) and Marion O’Niell (R-Maple Lake) filed a lawsuit against Daudt challenging his decision to not implement the constitutional pay raise according to KEYC News 12.

A similar lawsuit was filed with the Ramsey County Courts by attorney Erick Kaardal on behalf of the Association for Government Accountability. However, the Star Tribune reported Judge John Guthmann struck down their lawsuit stating they had no standings.

Voters made the decision in the November elections to create an independent legislative pay commission, which would remove the legislature’s authority to grant their own raises, Alpha News reports.

The council made the decision to increase the pay of legislatures to $45,000 a year, a $14,000 increase for legislators who have not received a raise in almost two decades.

While Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) welcomed the pay raise with open arms, Daudt has fought the raise every step of the way.

Gazelka said it was a constitutional mandate and they would accept it. Meanwhile, Daudt consulted with legal teams and adamantly spoke out against the raise.

After July 1, when the new fiscal year for the state began, State Senators received their $14,000 raise, while members of the house remained at their salary at $31,100.

However, once the lawsuit was filed, Daudt, who is expected to announce his bid for governor following the lawsuit over Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto, recanted on his previous objections to the pay raise.

According to the Star Tribune, Daudt said,  “It has become increasingly clear that the Minnesota House is constitutionally required to pay legislators the prescribed amount.”

There is no word on when the pay raise will take effect for members of the Minnesota House.

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