EXPLAINER: Compromise on pay raises for Gov. Dayton's commissioners

Minnesota lawmakers have reached a compromise on the pay raises Gov. Mark Dayton gave his commissioners. Those salary raises -- some as high as $35,000 -- caused a firestorm of controversy at the Capitol.

The deal

Thursday afternoon, the House passed a deal that mirrors what the Senate did last week -- it rolls back the raises of the commissioners through June 30. The compromise allows the governor to reinstate the raises on July 1, but any future raises must be approved by the legislative coordinating commission.

"The shortfall, members, in this bill and this solution, is that the crony government will have the opportunity to be reinstated on July 1," said Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa).

Rollback heard 'round the Rotunda

The deal comes a week after Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) got the Senate to roll back the raises, which infuriated the governor.

"I certainly learned a brutal lesson," Gov. Dayton said last week. "That I can't trust him."

Despite the harsh words, Bakk said he does not take it personally.

"I think we'll probably be a little more careful about communicating with each other going forward and I think that's probably a good thing," he said.

Having said that, Bakk says he and the governor have yet to speak with each other.

Next steps

As for the final version of this bill, it has to go a conference committee and back to the Senate possibly next Thursday for final approval. Bakk says it's his understanding the governor will sign the bill, although there is no confirmation for the governor's office.

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