"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Monday, February 11, 2008

Suit claims per diem increase for lawmakers illegal

This is great! Citizens standing up and protesting the actions of our elected officials. The first to be held accountable should be the members of the Rules Commitees that decided they could use a loophole to give themselves added compensation. This should begin with our boozing buddy, Senate President James Metzen who happens to live only five minutes from the capitol!

Article Last Updated: 02/11/2008 01:36:09 PM CST

A group of Minnesotans filed a lawsuit claiming that lawmakers have violated the state constitution by giving themselves increased expense payments.

Lawmakers in the Minnesota House and Senate last year raised their daily expense payments, known as per diem. For House members the daily payment was raised from $66 to $77. For Senators, it was raised from $66 to $96 a day. Lawmakers can decide how much and how often they accept the payments.

According to the constitution, the Legislature can only raise legislators' salaries for the next class of lawmakers, meaning they cannot increase their own pay. Last year, lawmakers said the per diem increase was not a salary increase.
But the lawsuit filed by Erick Kaardal, an attorney associated with politically conservative causes, said that the per diem payments are income and illegal. All lawmakers, the suit argues, should return the per diem payments they've received and be prevented from running for re-election.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at rstassen-berger@pioneerpress.com.

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