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< Tonka toys with MFL | Main | Gov signs bills; tightens Gold League standings >


Political rollerderby

Posted at 11:52 PM on May 21, 2007 by Bob Collins (10 Comments)

It's too bad normal Minnesotans don't stay up late to watch the last hour of the legislative session. You've got Republicans trying to talk the clock down to keep bills from coming up for votes, and DFLers pretty much ignoring all the calls to table this or move that. You've got the former speaker of the house, Steve Sviggum, basically calling out the current speaker.

It's better than anything else on TV, and that includes the M*A*S*H reruns on TV Land.

But my favorite part? For all the political mumbo jumbo of the previous 5 months, it's the time when politicians shed any semblance of dignity and lay their motives bare for all to see.

Except, of course, they know nobody's watching.

So you probably missed three legislators in last-minute switches on the attempt to override the governor's veto of the gas tax. Reps. Erhardt, Wollschlager, and Otremba voted to override the governor.... well, until just before the vote was closed and it was obvious the anti-gas-tax folks were going to win the round. So they switched from aye to nay and joined them.

Otremba is the only one to really have voted against the gas tax on May 14. Presumably, her caucus prevailed on her to vote for the override of the veto of a bill she voted against, right up until the point at which it wouldn't have mattered anymore.

Incidentally, Votetracker exists just for this reason: to provide an accurate record of where a lawmaker stands on an issue.

Update 9:21 a.m. Tues - The book on the House is closed as I have just processed Monday's House journal. There was only one bill to add... some OC (other chamber) points. I do not expect the Senate journal to carry any surprises. But, then again, if I expected them, they wouldn't be surprises, would they?


Comments (10)


The party's over! It's been a fun ride for the Beavers in the inaugural season of the MFL. No regrets...except for dropping Linda Higgins in week 3. George, you totally deserve the crown with your insight of the process. Nate, (Sine Die),...I REALLY thought you HAD the team to go all the way. Lastly, thanks to Bob Collins for starting something that is not only fun and entertaining but also provides insight to the legislative process.
BTW, wasn't the last hour of the House Session better than any reality show ever produced? Fond farewells to all...now it's back to the pond, sit in the Beaver hut and lick my wounds.

Posted by mike simpkins | May 22, 2007 12:36 AM


Well, after taking over the team in 19th place, and goiong as lowe as 21st I feel pretty good about finishing in 16th (at this time).

Piled heavy on Senators at the end.

Road that horse the last few weeks making no changes to lineup.

Posted by Brian Hanf | May 22, 2007 10:42 AM


Wonder if the final hour DVD will be on sale next Tuesday??

Might be a good way to raise some revenue, from those that missed the reality show live. Then we could fight over where the revenue would be used.

[Waiting for Votetracker to be updated.]

Does a photo finish in MFL compare with a photo finish in the two-minute Kentucky Derby race?

Thanks to Bob for all the effort and all the keystrokes he invested in making MFL educational for us aging civic students.

I'm trying to remember his predictions on final point totals. Was it around 15K? (Bob notes: No, I think it was something like 8,000. Really nailed it, didn't I?(g))

Posted by Nancy G | May 22, 2007 10:46 AM


I caught the last hour of the House in session last night... yikes! Brod, Sviggum and Olson were really fired up. Politics at its best I suppose.

Posted by gml4 | May 22, 2007 10:50 AM


Maroon League Handicap (G-I)

Indefagitable Bill Carriers: broke sharply, rated paceteers into the first turn, took the lead at the head of the backstretch and won handily.

also ran: (your team name here)

Now if I could only do so well at Canturbury Park . . .

Go Carriers!

Posted by Doug Gray | May 22, 2007 11:57 AM


Rep Erhardt is a well known mavarick Republican who has been seeking a gas tax increase for years. While it may appear that he flipped his vote for political purposes, let me offer an alternative explanation.

Bills introduced during the first year of a two year session carry over to the next year if not passed. What I believe Erhardt is doing is setting up a second attempt at veto over ride next year. In order to bring it up for a second vote, it would have to be moved by a member who voted on the prevailing side. That is, in this case, a member who voted for upholding the Governor's veto.

Posted by dwp | May 22, 2007 1:10 PM


EXCELLENT analysis, dwp. It even makes sense... well, in a Minnesota Legislature sort of way.

But it also suggests bringing the same bill back in its current form, right? I think that's a losing proposition because the DFL really let the taxpayer have it on this bill. A nickel gas tax? Sure, what the heck. It's not like a nickel is a big deal. If it were, maybe people wouldn't be zooming past me at 70 mph every day. so on that score, people doth protest too much.

But the wheelage tax? that's just a "give me more money" idea. An increase in license tab fees? A meto-area sales tax that people don't get to vote on. Hey, you can't very well be a Hennepin County legislator and put that little number in the bill, a year after you railed against legislators slapping a sales tax increase for a Twins stadium in your county!

I think that would put Hennepin County over 8 percent sales tax (or close to it). Then you add on the outdoors amendment sales tax increas and pretty soon.... well.... wow! Especially since we voted last November for MVST revenue going to transportation.

And they want to do that in an election year?

Sen. Murphy made some valid points in arguing for the bill. But I still think a lot of people who voted DFL last November are liking Gov. Pawlenty on this particular bill... even though they don't like the way he bonds transportation projects.

Maybe rather than whack the taxpayer over the head with a 2 x 4, maybe just a gas tax increase alone would find more favor.

Oh, and this mess with limited is reasons 1,2, and 3 while budgeting through the constitution is just a stupid, stupid idea. Part of the problem is being locked into a constitutionally dedidcated system of transportation funding.

Posted by Bob Collins | May 22, 2007 1:35 PM


Thanks, Bob, for all of your hard work on this!

Posted by Caitlin | May 22, 2007 4:06 PM


Y'all are sounding like its over. It's not over! Did America quit after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Posted by Bob Collins | May 22, 2007 4:50 PM


So we need to expand Mall of America so we can get all those visitors to pay Henn Co taxes to fund our road construction projects.

Posted by Nancy G | May 23, 2007 2:57 PM