When the final version of HF846 was passed in the DFL-controlled Minnesota Senate, all but ten of the Democratic majority voted against the bill after articulating their objections during the floor debate.
Governor Dayton vetoed the bill a week ago, largely over a punchlist of radical rollbacks to decades of environmental policy, and negotiations continue over the weekend to craft a compromise that can pass both chambers.
Bluestem has obtained a draft of the letter that Senate Environment & Energy Chair John Marty has drafted for the DFL senators who voted against the bill to sign. The four main points echo sentiments that MinnPost political columnist Doug Grow reported mid-week in What to expect when you're expecting a special session:
. . . according to Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Energy Committee, most of the objectionable language wasn’t in the original bill sent by the Senate to the conference committee. When the bill was re-worked there, it came back with a bunch of surprises, including the elimination of the Citizen’s Review Board, which has been an overseerer of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency since the 1960s. That conference committee bill did pass in the Senate, but it passed because 10 DFLers joined with Republicans.
Voting for the bill? Majority Leader Bakk, Kent Eken, Vicki Jensen, Lyle Koenen, Jim Metzen, Tom Saxhaug, Rod Skoe, Dan Sparks, Leroy Stumpf, and Dave Tomassoni (Page 4744 of the Journal of the Senate).
Here's the letter:
Given the urgent public purpose in providing for the state's poultry farmers, while funding agriculture, environment and natural resources agencies (including Minnesota's wildly popular state park system), Bluestem finds the focus in Senator Marty's draft to be spot on.
The House Republicans chose to put all their eggs in one basket (as far as avian flu relief went) when it came to passing a ginormous ag and environment budget bill, so it's time remove the dirty environment policy and keep the agencies running.
The letter also underscores the need for some reform in the process of crafting law. For a more explicit discussion, check out Senator Scott Dibble's email in out post Vetoed jobs bill would have blown $1.3 million hole in MN Highway User Tax Distribution Fund.
Photo: Senator Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center/Mendota), who disliked the notion that a "not real ag" operator of a 320-acre farm in Big Stone County represented ag on the MPCA Citizens Board, sharing a photo op with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook). Both voted for the vetoed bill.
Rosen's "not real ag" remarks were made in an informal Rural Task Force hearing in mid-November 2014, which was not recorded. However, Politics in Minnesota reported the remark, and a number of Bluestem's sources who were in the meeting room heard it as well. Others heard a similar statement from Rosen at a later meeting in the Mankato area.
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