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Minnesota Senate DFLers, back in charge, cut pay for GOP staffers

Back in the majority, one of first items for state Senate DFLers was cutting Senate GOP staff salaries.

State Senate Republican staff members will see their pay cut, in some cases by 40 percent, in a move approved by the Rules Committee on a partisan vote.

DFLers, back in the majority in the Senate, said the pay cuts are fair.

When the Republicans were in charge last session, DFL state Sen. Tom Bakk, now the majority leader, had complaints about DFL staff pay cuts, notes the Star Tribune. But Bakk denied the new staff cuts are payback.

Cuts in the Senate staff payroll also reflect the uncertain costs that the Senate budget faces with the pending Michael Brodkorb lawsuit over his termination after the Sen. Amy Koch scandal.

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The paper says because of the committee pay discussion, it came out that Bakk’s wife, Laura Bakk, is a Senate legislative assistant paid $68,561 a year, and DFL state Sen. Dan Sparkss mother, Faye Sparks, is a committee administrator paid $68,723.

Laura Bakk started working at the Capitol in 1975 and in the Senate in 1997; Tom Bakk was elected in 1994. Faye Sparks began as a Senate employee more than 10 years before her son was elected.