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< Political rollerderby | Main | The view from the top >

Gov signs bills; tightens Gold League standings

Posted at 3:55 PM on May 23, 2007 by Bob Collins (4 Comments)

Gov. Pawlenty today signed seven more bills, and in the resulting MFL points to authoring legislators, cut the Minnetonka lead over Bemidji in the Gold League almost in half.

Among the bills signed today: HF532, which gives active duty military personnel some protection in utility shutoffs and contracts. SF1075 restricts investment in the Sudan by state pension funds. HF2433 is the Browns Valley flood package.

Update 5:33 p.m. - I realize these are omnibus bills -- therefore, worthless in the MFL scheme of things, but of interest nonetheless. The gov's office says Pawlenty will receive the health and human services and state govt. finance bills on Thursday. He has to act on them by midnight Monday. He's going to get the higher ed, E-12 and tax bill next Tuesday and will have until midnight a week from Friday to act on those.

Comments (4)

Seems like that was the last of the potential MFL points yesterday... I had an incomplete list of bills yet to be signed, and I think that was the last of them. Anyone know if there are more?

Posted by gml4 | May 24, 2007 10:56 AM

I have to be happy with that - a last minute 4 place climb to finish in the top half of Gold league? I'll take it! Marble Madness is content with its rookie season.

Posted by bsimon | May 24, 2007 4:04 PM

Good job, Marble! I can say that since you didn't climb one rung higher.

And thanks to my Rep. Ryan Winkler for authoring the bill to provide some legal protections to military personnel that get deployed and want to discontinue services and contracts without penalty. In his Rookie legislative year, Winkler learned a lot from this bill as it drug him to about six different committees before finally landing on the governor's desk.

Winkler served on Team MILVETS and scored one point for the team. Maybe it was the filing of this bill. Yea Team!

Posted by Nancy G | May 24, 2007 11:46 PM

It appears the only points out there to win is HF562, that won't affect the Redress position as Gold League MFL Champion. So I have been working on some thoughts...

I occasionally play Diplomacy online, a game which usually lasts months.  After a game of Diplomacy, often each of the players writes an End of Game Statement, analyzing the game they just finished from their perspective.  I thought I would take a few moments to share my thoughts in this fashion about the MFL.

GML4's End of Game Statement

MFL was a very enjoyable, worthwhile learning experience for me.  I learned a lot about the state's legislative process, and have had fun "bantering" with the other managers online.  Only in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would actually win first place, but as a novice to state politics, I am very pleased and proud of myself and my efforts.

The Minnetonka Redress Season

The Minnetonka Redress draft was a mixed bag.  We felt real good about our DFL teammates, believing Senators Rest and Scheid, and Representatives Mahoney and Clark would be top bill writers, leading to the most potential points.  Our GOP bench was much more suspect, including the drafting of Senator Ortman who ended up on our team because I had listed several GOP legislatures who were not in office anymore.  I dropped her as quickly as I could (remember this later!).

The season opening was extremely interesting as bills introduced were the only points scored, and the committee points loomed so large.  I focused heavily on the committee's schedules and agendas, finding who had bills to be heard in committee.  I have to say I did not intend to drop and add so many legislators throughout the season, and this strategy goes against my nature.  I do believe that my "Flex Seat" strategy compelled the Redress, who were as low as in 9th position, up to 3rd place by around week 4 or 5.  The key transactions at this time were Rep. Hilstrom, Benson, and Bly who brought the Redress a lot of points while on the team.  I struggled all season with my GOP side, not really finding satisfaction until the last couple weeks.

Throughout the season, I continued tinkering with my team, believing that I had a shot at catching the leaders, but was constantly frustrated as I gained little traction.  When the commissioner mentioned that the house was going to be making Omnibus bills there priority in the middle of April, I dropped nearly all my Representatives for Senators.  I strongly felt that I needed to shoot for the gold, and that I was relatively safe from the distant forth place team at the time.

I made a little traction, and cut the lead nearly in half those two weeks however my gains were lost the next week, leaving me more frustrated then ever, and more resigned to a third place finish.

The last couple weeks were clearly going to be big points as there was a lot of legislation moving the governor's way.  I took my focus off of the committee schedules to find the legislation that was getting Other Chamber and Governor Signature points.  When I saw GOP Sen. Johnson's name on a bill that the Governor was going to sign, I leaped on it.  Getting that easy 50 points, along with another 50 led to a late night for me on May 10th.  I searched through a lot of bills and legislators; seeking more free agents that would be getting lots of points like Senator Johnson did for me.  The Senators I picked up that weekend (Olseen, Sparks, Gimse and Ortman (oh yeah, remember her!?) were key to our end of season success, as the Representatives were not being nearly as productive as the Senate.

Even going into the last week though, I still didn't believe I had a chance to win.  At this point I was going to make myself be happy that I would win third place, and was planning on drafting, my second cousin, Sen. Carlson (DFL) the last weekend so I could say I had family on my team.  But Thursday, May 17th, when I had leaped up to within a couple hundred points of the leaders, I spent another late night looking at the legislation that was moving and who would be getting the big points.  I had impressed myself with the transactions from the previous week, as they were still making points, and so dropped my last Representative (Bly) to make room for Sen. Latz.

It was clear to me Saturday that my chances for winning were very real, and when we took the lead the final day was very exciting for Minnetonka Redress.

All the transactions the Redress made this season contributed to its championship.  I tried desperately to make more trades, but other managers didn't see value in my offers.  The commissioner was very patient with me and my questions throughout the season; that is very much appreciated.  Clearly the foundation the Minnetonka Redress was built on, Senator Rest, made it easy to drop and add the rest of the roster.

The MFL: Overview and suggestions

Not paying much attention to the Maroon league, I took a look at what happened there, and find it an interesting contrast to the Gold.  The Carriers drafted a good team, and made no transactions, dominating the season.  Yikes.  I don?t know if I would've enjoyed playing in that league.

After a couple weeks, I was worried that the commissioner would lose track of legislation.  There were so many bills out there; I couldn't imagine how he was tracking it all.  I will admit to questioning some of the points, which he responded to politely.  After a while, I just had to trust what he was doing.  The play-by-play page was good and helpful.  I wonder if the spreadsheet the commissioner was using could be made more widely available.

I clearly took advantage of transactions, I felt a bit guilty of dropping nearly my whole team the last two weeks, giving me nearly an entirely new team to finish the year.  I would suggest a transaction deadline the last month of the season, where players could no longer be dropped, then have offer to allow teams to expand their roster by one in the last two weeks, to pick up one legislator to finish the season with.  Teams would have to plan better for long term with this schedule.

I don't like transactions being dealt by the position one stands in the league standings.  If two teams are trying to pick up Sen. Olseen in week 4, I would suggest a coin being flipped, and the Senator going to the winner of the coin flip.

I enjoyed the draft, and feel this probably would be the best way to handle it in the future.

As a former Fantasy Football commissioner, I longed for head to head match up.  For the MFL, I imagine week one having the Redress v. Beavers, and the Sadist v. Confidential Sources, then in week two Redress v. Confidential and Beavers v. Sadist.  Then have a playoff the last two weeks with the top four teams.  There would be a number of positives because of this.  First, it would make the game more personal, and offer interaction between individual teams.  Also, this would allow more competition at the end of the season, making the Carriers fight for their championship.

I would not be in favor of a "redraft" as was discussed a couple weeks ago.  Forcing teams to drop players doesn't seem fun to me, and hurts teams who had worked on their roster.

The discussion of a "bench", where the teams would have legislators on their rosters, but not making points for their team unless they "start them", in the MFL is intriguing.  I don't know if I would favor it, as it seems silly to have legislators on one's team, but not able to generate points with them.

Big kudos to our commissioner!  Keeping up the scoring nearly every day, and posting interesting tidbits about our legislature and its processes kept things lively for me.  I have to admit a couple weeks in February where my interest waned a bit when I was absorbed in other things, but Bob was clearly focused on making the MFL run as smoothly as possible. 

Thank you as well to Julia and others at MPR for all the support given to the MFL.

Remembering that "Telling the truth can be dangerous business, honest and popular don't go hand in hand" I have to admit I was very excited by the idea when Bob Collins suggested it back in December.  This game offered a chance to watch our state legislative process up close, which I tried to take advantage of the best I was able.  I sincerely feel I've grown a lot in my knowledge of state politics, and hope to learn more, both with this game, and in other ways down the line.  Please don't file this in the file labeled "Ishtar" The Minnetonka Redress would love a shot at defending its title next year. 

Posted by gml4 | May 30, 2007 11:44 AM