Sure, the brinkmanship games and poison pills were fun last spring at the end of the Minnesota legislative session, but now perfectly ordinary Republican lawmakers are feeling the pain of Dayton's veto of funding for the circus.
The Hutchinson Leader's Jeremy Jones reports in Supreme Court ruling affects local elected officials:
Local lawmakers could be without the staff who help them with day-to-day operations, research and legislation by early next year.
“We have the money to get to May,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “But then there is no more looking under the couch cushions for change.”
The issue has arisen following the Minnesota Supreme Court decision Thursday to uphold Gov. Mark Dayton's line-item veto of the state House of Representatives and Senate budget. The veto was a last-minute bid to force GOP lawmakers to reverse course on tax cuts contained in the tax bill. . . .
“Now, we still won't have any money,” Newman said. “We will have to do something back in session … the plan would be to pass the bill again. I can't tell you how that will turn out.”
He estimated about 200 employees work with legislators at the state Capitol.
“There are a lot of people who work in the Legislature between the House and Senate,” he said, adding the staff include partisan and nonpartisan staff.
There are also staff members such as maintenance workers and janitors.
Bluestem offers a jar of our famous Frangelico raw honey apple butter for a picture of Senator Scott Newman pushing a broom like an honest custodian.
Poor Dean Urdahl is having a rough go of it as well, Jones reports:
On his way to a meeting with his legislative assistant when he spoke to the Leader Friday, Urdahl noted another change in effect due to the line-item veto.
“I'm not getting per diem today,” he said. “I'm not getting mileage. At this point, all the traveling I do, (in addition to) four of the last six days I've gone to the Cities, it's all on my dime.
“If this goes on, when we get to the part where we don't have staff, then it affects how we can serve the people even more. There may be legislators who choose not to do things because they won't have their expenses reimbursed.”
Bluestem modestly proposes that the lawmakers quit worrying and learn to appreciate lobbyists, many of whom are employed by stakeholders who write the bills anyway.
We saw committee chairs last spring turn the presentation of new bills over to lobbyists from the Mn Chamber and other business groups, so nothing would really change in terms of the end product.
Indeed, the legislature would not only save money while boosting transparency, but we think this totally would be a splendid way for the Republicans to avoid negotiating with the governor and agencies at all.
Photo: Senator Scott Newman, via twitter.
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