Despite what the GOP-controlled House, DFL-controlled Senate or Gov. Mark Dayton may tell you, the 2015 legislative session has turned out to be a disappointment for west central Minnesota.
It seems no matter how hard they try, Minnesota’s three-legged government just cannot get its job done in a timely manner, leaving many decisions until the final week and often forcing a special session.
Minnesotans are losing patience with what has become a three-legged circus show.
Here are three examples of the hypocrisy of Minnesota government nowadays.
* As the Legislature was in its final days, the Senate DFL leadership apparently agreed to some deals with the House without similar agreement from Dayton.
Then following Dayton’s veto of three budget bills, Senate DFL leaders basically left the negotiations to Dayton and House Republican leaders.
House Republican leaders blame Dayton for vetoing legislation containing aid for the avian flu fight in Minnesota. Yet House leaders declined multiple times to allow separate legislation specifically for dealing with the avian flu crisis in Minnesota.
* Dayton, as governor, has at times been unpredictable in his leadership decision, sometimes drawing a line in the sand on one issue or another - only to later back down.
After nearly two weeks of negotiations, the sides finally agreed Thursday night to hold a special session to pass the remaining budget bills.
One of the bills initially failed to gain sufficient votes in the Senate Friday afternoon.
While we know democracy is not always pretty, this state’s version has long abandoned Minnesota Nice and just does not seem to get its job done in a timely manner.
Even when the state has a major budget surplus, the legislators and the governor could not come to agreement in a timely manner.
Maybe it is time they all get a time out.
There are serious issues that were not resolved this year that will have significant impact in west central Minnesota.
* Once again the Minnesota Legislature and the state’s governor failed to get their work done on time and had to hold a special session. And as of late Friday night, the three were having trouble reaching final agreement on some bills.
* A failure through late Friday to promptly provide $20 million to help farmers related to the avian flu crisis. This would fund state response, mental health aid to farmers and low-interest loans to those affected.
* Providing a bandaid of $10 million, down from $20 million in 2014, to address broadband expansion in needed areas. A state report lists the projected cost for border-to-border broadband to be $900 million to $3.6 billion.
* A failed effort to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for the future while Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure continues to deteriorate every year.
Those four issues alone make the 2015 legislative session a failure for west central Minnesota.
The House Republican leadership blames Dayton, the governor blames an intransigence House, Senate DFL’ers are blaming Senate and House leadership as well as the governor.
And at the same time a bill is passed and signed into law allowing counties to audit themselves instead of the state auditor, but no one is clear on who initiated the change or agreed to it.
Minnesota’s secret deals continue.