State senator who cast deciding vote on legislative pay hike changed from ‘nay’ to ‘yea’

The deciding vote in this week’s state Senate approval of a pay hike for legislators was cast by first-term state Sen. Kent Eken, a DFLer from Twin Valley, who says he didn’t agree with the pay increase but liked other parts of the bill.

The vote tally for the bill, which included legislative and executive branch pay increases as well as other state government funding, was stuck at 33-33, when Eken changed from no to yes, says the Fargo Forum.

Eken told the paper:

“The one thing I didn’t agree with in this bill was the pay issue. I originally voted no, but when I saw that the votes weren’t there to pass the bill I thought it wasn’t worth sacrificing all of the other good parts of this bill.”

As soon as Eken changed his vote to provide a winning margin, voting was closed. Five DFLers and all the Republicans in the Senate voted no.

House members, who all face re-election next year, have not addressed the legislative pay hike issue.

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