Minnesota GOP lawmakers sue to undo state employee pay raise

Published 7:32 pm Sunday, January 3, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — A pair of Minnesota Republican lawmakers is suing the state’s budget agency in an attempt to halt pay raises for state employees.

Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, and Sen. Mark Koran, R-North Branch, have asked a Ramsey County Judge to strike down a decision by the Minnesota Management and Budget to give government employees a 2.5% raise in July, despite the Senate Republican majority voting to postpone the pay hike amid the pandemic.

O’Neill and Koran argue in the lawsuit that the state’s collective bargaining agreement with state employees is invalid because both legislative chambers did not pass the same bill to ratify the contracts. They called the pay raises illegal and an overstep of Gov. Tim Walz’s authority.

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Minnesota Management and Budget ruled in May that legislators don’t have the authority to change agreements to freeze pay raises. A legal review conducted by the agency determined that the Legislature can’t modify the agreements, which the Democratic-controlled House ratified as is. By voting to OK the contracts without raises, the agency determined, the Senate effectively approved them.