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Confessions of an arm-chair legislator

Posted at 5:00 AM on March 21, 2007 by Bob Collins (5 Comments)

There should be a political bar somewhere. You know, like a sports bar? Lots of TVs, each turned to a different game?

Today (Wednesday) at the Capitol would be a good time to have it. Lots of big stuff coming up worth watching. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how the House/Senate TV people decide what's worth covering.

And I've almost got the whole day planned out:


8 a.m. - HF196 -- Rep. Mindy Greiling's mental health bill is before the Public Safety Finance Division. This bill has already accumulated big points. What's wrong with the Minnesota mental health system. Read. The House/Senate TV is showing a hearing on a tax break for expansion of the Mall of America. OK, yeah, sure I get it. Tax breaks for businesses and all that. But this particular bill really doesn't impact that many Minnesotans; not like reconstructing the state's mental health system.

11:00 - The Senate is in session. OK, so it's become the Larry Pogemiller Show. It's just a pregame anyway. That's on TV, of course.

11:30 -- The House meets in session. Watching Seifert and Sertich spar is nowhere as fun as when Rukavina and Pawlenty used to go at it on the House floor, but they're still young and learning the game. That's on TV.

12:30 pm - Senate Health, Housing, and Family Security hearing on SF14 -- the constitutional amendment for affordable health care -- and SF1398, the health care facility domestic partner designation and health care agents patients visitation bill. Should be good for some good old Republican vs. DFL debate. Are we going to see it? Are you kidding me, not when the House/Senate TV can provide a delayed broadcast of coverage of a bill that creates a Board of High Pressure Piping Systems and another that creates a plumbing council. Not sure what the TV folks' infatuation is with that latter bill; they covered it ad nauseum on Monday too.

2:15 pm - Debra Hilstrom's HF2151, the bill that seeks to overturn the sit-out-a-year rule for high school transfers in athletics hits the K-12 Finance Division. I set up a Votetracker on this bill, but I couldn't do a roll call on the Disparities in Student Support and Service Subcommittee party-line vote on Monday because nowhere on the House Web site can I find who's on the subcommittee. Anyone? Oh, and points to the TV folks. They're covering it, which means there's no coverage of any of the following.

3:00 pm -- The State and Local Govt. Ops Committee debates John Marty's universal health care system bill, shortly before giving it the OK.

3:00 -- Hmm, problem. The statewide smoking ban is up for a hearing in the Senate Economic Development Budget Division. TV's not covering. Fortunatley the Senate Webcast is.

3:05 pm. -- SF 50, the restirctions on lobbying by ex-legislators bill gets a hearing. Did you see Tom Scheck's story on this? A good read. Phil Krinkie makes a good point. What say you?


6:30 p.m. - If only there were TV or Web coverage, I could wrap up the day with Happy Hour, watching the House Health and Human Services Committee hear Phyllis Kahn's HF1618, that gives domestic partners of state employees health insurance benefits. I have a Votetracker on this one too.

Yep, maybe I'll just chuck it all and open up that politics bar. Wonder what I could call it?


Comments (5)


Bob -

Last time I was in DC the "sports" bar a buddy took me to had CSPAN 1,2,3 on big screen TV's, and the Nationals (For those in into baseball, its DC's baseball team) on the smaller ones in the corners, it was a rebroadcast game but still.

It was pre-lunch (10:30ish) and the place was packed, everyone kept glancing at the big screens.

I forget the name of the place.

Posted by Brian Hanf | March 21, 2007 9:06 AM


Polinaut's Paradise sounds like a nice name for a bar.

You could have a Tropical theme most of the year and Political theme while leg is in session?

Posted by Brian Hanf | March 21, 2007 10:09 AM


I am pretty sure Rep. John Lesch is working on a bar just like this that would be located just a few blocks from the capitol. He had some pretty slick brochures circulating last year.

Posted by Jon | March 21, 2007 10:45 AM


Or you could just sit in the cafeteria at the Capital. Similar effect, minus the alcohol and waitresses. Plus, then you can listen to the closed circuit audio broadcast.

Posted by Julie A. | March 21, 2007 1:29 PM


The only problem with that, Julie, is I'm still faced with only having some hearing on the Board of Water Piping Pressure -- or some such deal -- when there's actually interesting hearings going uncovered.

Posted by Bob Collins | March 21, 2007 1:34 PM