June 23, 2005Off to court
Eight days to go until a partial government shutdown, and the state goes to court to argue over what is and what isn't essential. All sides have apparently been so busy trying to decide this question they haven't been able to find time to negotiate. In yet another goofy development Gov. Pawlenty and Attorney general Mike Hatch will argue with each other in court over who has the right to represent the state. Here's how the Pioneer Press reports it:
Minnesota flirted with a shutdown in 2001 when the Legislature did not pass any spending bills by the end of June. Then-Ramsey County Chief Judge Lawrence Cohen gave the governor power to keep core functions going after a single court hearing. In the end, the Legislature agreed to a budget the next day.
Maybe the judge should lock everyone in an un-air-conditioned room and keep them there until they come out with a deal. And while they're at it, he could have them resolve that extra $300 million problem caused by the Hutchinson Technology decision so we won't have to worry about another budget shortfall next year.
The Star Tribune has more about the unusual dual nature of the court arguments:
[U of M political science professor Larry] Jacobs likened the situation to a Vikings-Packers football game in which "Green Bay was told that the Vikings coach would be setting the rules."
Mind you, that is not an objection. And he said merely that it's stupid...not profoundly stupid.
If government ever gets back to business as usual here's an interesting one to ponder. Should metro Minnesotans and non-metro Minnesotans be more alike when it comes to their health? MPR's Lorna Benson had this item:
Rural residents are more likely to be overweight and less likely to wear seat-belts than their urban counterparts. That's according to a new Minnesota Department of Health report that shows some significant health disparities between rural and metro residents in the state.
I'm not quite sure what that all means, but it's something to think about.Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 6:11 AM