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< "Democratic Kangaroo Court" | Main | Waiver day >


What is going on at the Capitol?

Posted at 1:49 PM on March 22, 2007 by Bob Collins

As we continue to kick around omnibus bills and the way they're put together, a new wrinkle has emerged.

Take a look at Sen. Larry Pogemiller's SR59, being debated at this hour on the Senate floor and see if you can figure it out:

The criteria in this resolution apply to the sessions of the 85th Legislature.

An amendment to a major appropriation or tax bill that is a Senate file is out of order if it will increase net appropriations from a fund for a fiscal biennium, compared to the bill as it was reported to the floor of the Senate, without a corresponding increase in net revenue.

An amendment to a major appropriation or tax bill that is a Senate file is out of order if it will reduce net revenue to a fund for a fiscal biennium, compared to the bill as it was reported to the floor of the Senate, without a corresponding reduction in net appropriations.

An amendment to a major appropriation or tax bill that is a Senate file is out of order if it will change appropriations or revenues to an agency that was not in the bill as it was reported to the floor of the Senate, or will create or increase the amount of a tax expenditure by reducing appropriations or revenues to an agency that was not in the bill as it was reported to the floor of the Senate.

Sen. Wergin just noted that she can't put the governor's education bill into play on the Senate floor, because it spends more money than the bill Sen. LeRoy Stumpf is offering.

Sen. Pogemiller says he's not sure that's true, but what the resolution, according to Pogemiller, does is say you have to say how you're going to pay for something if you offer it.

Not sure, who's right. But doesn't the alarm go off a little bit when Senate rules are changed just before a bunch of DFL omnibus bills hit the Senate floor?

OK, if I were a DFLer, maybe I'd get some chuckles out of watching the GOP squirm and get all bent out of shape. But there's something about this that feels like it limits debate. In the past -- and I'm talking about the House now -- at least the DFL was able to get a few shots in during floor debate, shortly before they got their lunch handed to them with the eventual party-line vote. Maybe the GOP would do the same thing if they were in power. Maybe they did. It still feels.... odd. Bet there's a a 44-23 vote coming.

The first voice you hear is Sen. Julianne Ortman

(Listen to the audio)

I know a few prominent senators read the MFL blog. So give us the behind-the-scenes look at what went on in the caucus when you came up with this puppy?

And if you didn't hear Rep. Westrom's rant this morning, read the next item on the blog.

Update - Pogemiller pulled the resolution to work on it some more.