It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity . . .
The contrast between belief and incredulity certainly struck us as we read this passage in J. Patrick Coolican's article for the Strib, Legislature's GOP majorities push hard early on:
The first few weeks of a legislative session often are sleepy affairs: lots of ceremony, feel-good receptions and meet-and-greets, introductions and informational hearings.
Not this year.
A number of factors combined to create a flurry of early activity . . .
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, who has been at the Capitol since 2003.
Rosen, who leaves on a two-week trip to Myanmar this week, said the Senate’s rush to pass its health care bill last week was not related to her travel plans. Lawmakers were eager to get it done so that Senate and House negotiators could work out differences for final passage by the end of the month, which is the deadline for Minnesotans to sign up for health insurance.
Still, Rosen’s absence is notable because it shows how thin the GOP’s one-seat majority really is. With just one member gone, the Senate conceivably could come to a halt, with Republicans lacking the numbers to move any legislation opposed by the DFL.
Of course her private travel plans have nothing to do with the alacrity last week, nor should we begrudged her mission to Burma. After all, the woman sacrificed her Greater Minnesota member housing voucher when she built that mighty house on the river in the wilds of the Dakota County suburbs for those times she's forced to leave her small rented home outside Vernon Center in order to serve the people of Minnesota.
Nonetheless, her absence may slow the machinery of power in St. Paul, thus dashing the hopes of the ink-stained wretches in the newsroom of the Crookston Times, who opined on Monday in Compromise in St. Paul:
Compromise in St. Paul
The last time Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton had to work with a Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature, we had to suffer through a brief government shutdown, as Dayton and the Republicans refused to work together to get anything meaningful accomplished. Dayton said the other day he fears it could happen again, now that Republicans again control both the Minnesota Senate and House. But it doesn't have to, especially not with meaningful legislation like health insurance relief, a bonding bill, and tax bill that, according to last year's numbers, would give Crookston an additional $116,000 or so in Local Government Aid. If Dayton and the Republicans approach each other with reasonable expectations and a willingness to give instead of just take, things could get done. But forgive us if we're less than hopeful that the governor and legislative leaders will work together for the benefit of Minnesotans who elected them.
Were we the least bit cynical, we'd suggest that in the absence of the bread of LGA, the good citizens of Crookston might eat cake, but far be it from Bluestem to even imply such a thing.
Photo: A still from the classic Tale of Two Cities.
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