The Minnesota Senate has passed a bill funding state courts and corrections including a pay increase for judges.
The Senate passed the judiciary finance bill on Tuesday by a bipartisan vote of 47-18. It adds 100 new chemical dependency beds in Minnesota prisons, boosts state funding for public defenders and includes money to beef up the state's existing background checks on gun buyers.
State Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and District Court judges would get 4-percent salary hikes in each of the next four years. That would raise district court judge pay from the current $129,000 a year to $151,000 a year by 2016. Minnesota judges have not had a pay increase since 2008 and backers say that makes it difficult to attract top candidates for judgeships.
A House judiciary budget proposal awaits a floor vote in that chamber.