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Lawmakers want shutdown pay after deferring it

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: August 22, 2011 - 4:29 PM

Updated at 4:29 p.m.

A number of state representatives who chose not to be paid during the state shutdown now say they want the money after all.

During Minnesota's 20-day state government shutdown, lawmakers could opt out of receiving their normal pay -- though most chose to take it. Fifty Minnesota House lawmakers deferred pay, but state officials said Monday that 18 of them are now asking for it retroactively.

Several of those lawmakers have told Hot Dish that they did not keep the money, but instead donated it to other causes. The total payment is about $1,600.

Ten Democrats and seven Republicans will receive full retroactive pay.  Their names are below.

Anderson, Paul
Atkins, Joe
Crawford, Roger
Dittrich, Denise
Drazkowski, Steve
Garofalo, Pat
Grieling, Mindy
Johnson, Sheldon
Kahn, Phyllis
Laine, Carolyn
Loon, Jenifer
Morrow, Terry
Mullery, Joe
Norton, Kim
Scott, Peggy
Slocum, Linda
Swedzinski, Chris

Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, was initially on the list but said Monday afternoon that he did not turn in some relevant paperwork. He has requested half of his normal pay, noting that state workers received about the same percent in unemployment insurance.

"I'm trying to match as best I can how state employees were treated," Winkler said.

Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, said it was never her intention to take pay for the shutdown period. She thought she had agreed to take pay only for the post-shutdown period of July. "I'll write a check back to the state. I'll write a check to charity. I don't care. But I'm not getting paid for the days that we were shut down," Scott said.

Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, said she donated the money back to the state via personal check since it otherwise would stay in a House account.

"It's the only way that I could do this, because otherwise it sits in the House of Representatives slush fund," Loon said.

Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said she donated most of the money to the Rochester Area Math-Science Partnership, a non-profit where she works outside of the Legislature.

“Because of my legislative [work], I was unable to do my other job, which is working for a non-profit. And I felt I had harmed them," Norton said.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said she donated the money to a variety of area groups that she felt were hurt by the shutdown. They include East Side Neighborhood Services, Open Access Communications, Planned Parenthood. Minneapolis Foundation for Parks and The Masonic Cancer Center. She also sent money to the American Refugee Committee to aid the famine Somalia.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said the money will all be donated to local charities.

Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, said he is donating it to groups and charities near his district in southwestern Minnesota.

Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said he is giving almost all of the money to area nursing homes. The rest will go to the county 4-H.

Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, e-mailed to say that he had used some of the money to reimburse his expenses to attend a higher education conference in Washington, D.C. He plans to return the remainder to the state.

House DFL spokeswoman Carrie Lucking said Rep. Mindy Greiling is donating the money to NAMI MN, Tasks Unlimited, People, Inc. and Keystone Community Services. Rep. Joe Mullery and Rep. Denise Dittrich are also donating the pay, she said. Lucking added Rep. Joe Atkins is using it to create a scholarship at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights.

Lucking added in a later e-mail that Rep. Linda Slocum, DFL-Richfield, is giving the money to the Cornerstone domestic violence prevention center in Bloomington.

Another 32 state respresentatives reduced their pay by the amount they would have earned during the shutdown. Here is who refused payment altogether:

Anzelc, Tom
Benson, John
Bills, Kurt
Byrnaert, Kathy
Carlson, Lyn
Cornish, Tony
Doepke, Connie
Downey, Keith
Erickson, Sondra
Falk, Andrew
Gottwalt, Steve
Hancock, David
Hortman, Melissa
Kiel, Debra
Knuth, Kate
Lenczewski, Ann
Liebling, Tina
Loeffler, Diane
Lohmer, Kathy
Mahoney, Tim
Mazorol, Pat
McElfatrick, Carolyn
McFarlane, Carol
Murphy, Erin
Murphy, Mary
Murray, Richard
Paymar, Michael
Scalze, Bev
Simon, Steve
Thissen, Paul
Ward, John
Wardlow, Doug

Marie Hawthorne with Senate Fiscal Services said that there has been no change from the 14 senators who initially deferred their shutdown pay.

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