There's really only one thing that Bluestem disagrees with in The 2015 Legislature’s failures for west central Minnesota, the West Central Tribune's assessment of the just-concluded special session of the Minnesota legislature--and the regular session that preceded it.
It's the notion that the failures outlined in the editorial are failure for west central Minnesota.
The epic fails outlined by the editorial board are failures for the entire state, not simply this region. Or urban versus rural, or any of the convenient frames upon which talking points and messaging are hung.
The board writes:
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. . . .
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.
The editors list four specific failures--getting work done by the state's constitutional deadlines, passing timely avian flu relief (Northfield DFLer David Bly tried and tried), adequate funding for broadband and a comprehensive transportation plan.
Those aren't failures for West Central Minnesota. They are failures for all of us.
Photo: A road in western Minnesota. Photo by Dale Moerke. Used with permission.
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