Bluestem Prairie holds a constant vigil, scanning the political skies for signs of the waning days of Babylon. It's been an alarming week.
First, we read at an article by Tom Scheck at Minnesota Public Radio, Push begins to raise state welfaregrants:
A task force appointed by the Legislature is pushing for Minnesota to increase cash assistance for welfare recipients. . . .
Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, is the chief author of a bill to enact the task force recommendations.
She said she increasing the grants will help bring people out of poverty.
“This bill, I think is a good start,” Franson said. “The cash assistance has remained flat since 1986, and the buying power of 1986 isn’t exactly the same as it is in 2015.”
Franson said several other Republicans, including Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, and Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, have signed on to her bill.
We could have been knocked over by a chickadee feather: Gruenhagen has in the past claimed public assistance promotes single motherhood as a form of prostitution. It's good to see the Glencoe Republican see the light about public assistance.
Next, we read in Nobody likes the Met Council at MinnPost:
As expected, Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature have filed a handful of bills this year to “rein in” the Metropolitan Council, the body that oversees regional transit and planning in the Twin Cities. . . .
What is a surprise is that one of the bills to reform the Met Council has bipartisan interest, if not all-out support. A bill introduced by Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, would require the governor’s nominees to the Met Council to receive the endorsement of a majority of the city councils in their district. Those same city councils would also be empowered to remove council appointees if they fell out of favor.
Of the four cosponsors signing onto Osmek’s bill, three are DFLers. And one is not only a champion of regionalism and light rail, but the chair of the Senate Transportation and Public Safety Committee: Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis. . . .
But nothing prepared us for remarks at the beginning of a bill for student loan forgiveness for rural health care staff that Representative Franson was sponsored:
Well first I'd like to say that anytime I can hold hands on a bill with SEIU, it's a good day, so yay us, huh? This--
The committee room burst into laughter.
Franson, a former day care provider, has been one of the most severe critics of the new law that allowed day care providers and home care workers whose clients' services are paid by the state to organize.
All joking aside, tools to help bring and keep health care workers to greater Minnesota are worth hold hands across disagreements.
Here's the moment:
Photo: Representative Mary Franson on election night. Via Alexandria Echo.
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