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< Early Leaders | Main | Will They or Won't They? >

That Didn't Take Long

Posted at 1:59 PM on February 22, 2008 by Michael Marchio (4 Comments)

So T-Paw, making good on his promise, has killed the transportation finance bill only a few hours after its marathon run through the House and then the Senate. It passed easily through both chambers (see votes), with a veto-proof majority in the Senate and one vote short of the 90 necessary in the House. As Nancy noted in the comments yesterday, two nay votes in the House belonged to DFLers, and the DFL will probably have an easier time getting at least one of those folks to change their mind than convincing the Republicans to stay with them.

The override vote will be on Monday, and so I've scheduled our first floor-a-palooza for that day in both the Senate and the House on the transportation bill. The technical names are HF2800 and SF2521. If anyone on your team gives a speech - and if the seven hours of debate in the House and three in the Senate yesterday are any indication, there's an awfully good chance of that - you'll get 20 bonus points.

Yesterday's floor session was pretty grueling. Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) had a pretty good line, saying there was "more spin going on in this chamber than a well-greased tilt-o-whirl," in regards to the DFL's assertion that the bill would lower property taxes, even though the bill doesn't directly do that. (They argue that it will free up more money for localities to spend on things besides local transit, and lower taxes indirectly that way.)

The best speech may have belonged to Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka). For those who played last year, you'll remember that Abeler was the MVP of the MFL, but since the scoring formula has changed to not count co-authoring legislation, he hasn't been as dominant (at least not yet).

Holding 34 pages of foreclosure reports from the Anoka area, he said he was going to vote no, but changed his mind after hearing from his district about the massive amounts of local money that are going towards fixing roads, and the strain its putting on the community. Here's a sample of what he said:

"If I asked any of you, if I asked any of my constituents, 'Do you want a mortgage?' Uhh, no. But if I asked if you want a house, you'd go , 'Well, yeah.' And ninety-something percent of you who have houses have mortgages. And even though you don't want the mortgage, you want the house. If I say 'Do you want a tax?' you'll go like, what am I crazy? But if I say do you want Highway 10 to be built in your lifetime? Do you want 30 years to go by before they fix Highway 65 as you heard before? Do you want Highway 47 to ever be widened so that people don't die on some of those corners, especially if its your kid. Do you wish they would've fixed it?[...]And so to the governor, who is reticent about the expense here, I want to point out maybe he should look a little bit closer at this bill before he just takes his automatic red pen out of his pocket and instead, use the blue pen, the little cool blue pen...and take your blue pen and sign your name on this thing and listen to your friends at the chamber, your allies, listed to your friends at the business partnership, listen to your friends at Don's aggregate company and say "I think you're right. This is a bill that I think its time to do." And lets get behind it, and lets all give him 105 votes so he feels comfortable doing that."

My guess is that things are going to get a lot uglier for the override session than even Thursday's session was, so everyone should try and keep an eye on it here if they're able.

With so few bills having been sent to the floor, a couple teams are really cleaning up. The BSU Poliscientists are living up to their name, leading the entire MFL with an astounding 495 points, due in large part to having the #1 (Tom Anzelc) and #2 (Ann Rest) power-ranked lawmakers on their team. The Ultraliberal Elite have also been impressive breaking the 400 point mark. Another four, the Junkymonkeys, Good Bye Mady's, id10t, and Curlybro's Congress have all hit 300 in more strong early showings. If your team is behind, though, there's no reason to fear. After the transportation finance bill stops monopolizing the House and Senate's floor time, we'll see a lot more of the big-point items get through. Here's a tip. Take a look at the House and Senate schedules for next week and look to pick up lawmakers off waivers who show up a lot there. It requires some planning, but its a good way to catch up.

Comments (4)

Does anybody really think that the veto can be overridden? With Pawlenty being a possible V.P. candidate, the GOP convention coming to town, I just don't think the Republicans would do that.

Posted by gml4 | February 23, 2008 7:00 PM

Well, having a bridge fall down with a busload of RNC delegates on it would certainly be more embarrassing than to have the legislature recognize that we're not going to be able to maintain our roads and bridges without getting some additional revenue from a logical source.

The governor's refusal to raise taxes, even after the deaths of citizens caused by a crumbling bridge, should not impede progress when there are enough intelligent, thinking people in the legislature to recognize that putting an extra nickel in the drum is the way to take care of our roads, since the Rich Uncle is not going to build them for us.

So yes, we can think and hope that the veto can be over ridden. And we can urge the key votes to vote the correct way. Some legislators actually care more about the citizens and their safety than their standing in their party. If the Republican party won't support a legislator any more, the DFL might welcome them if the legislator 'plays well with others.'

If MNDOT repairs all the roads that run from the DNC convention sites to the convention hotels and neglects the roads in 'Greater Minnesota' that carry farm, forest and orchard produce to market, then I imagine there could be numerous legislators that might want to belong to Any Party but Pawlenty's.

Posted by Nancy | February 24, 2008 7:55 AM

Hey, I've got Anzelc! Or is more than one team allowed to have the same person...?? He *has* certainly done wonders for my team's score. [Healthy Gophers #2]

Whether or not the bill gets passed isn't going to significantly impact the quality of our roads. We need a major change to our tax system. Go drive in Germany. Like their autobahns? Pay their gas taxes, and you'll get much better roads. And, yes, I realize that Minnesota's weather eats up roads a lot more than Bavaria's. I paid about $5.50/gal in July there last year. Most of that is taxes, not corporate profits. After all, would you rather give your money to Minnesota or OilGiant Corp?

I do hope the bill will pass, whether or not my team gets any points from it.

Posted by Elizabeth Tobias | February 24, 2008 4:45 PM

"After all, would you rather give your money to Minnesota (than to the people who produce your fuel)"

Yes by all means. I want to put all the #$@%& oil companies out of business and give our politicians all of our money instead.


Because survey after survey ranks the political class among the most honest people on the face of the earth from Che' Guevera to Kim Sung Il, politicians always have our best interests at heart.

We are only as children, we only know how to produce and earn while our politicians instead know how to take and consume which is where all real the magic lies

If we give our money to oil companies they'll just drill for more of that icky stuff, then where are we?

Ill tell you where we are!

Why, then people could live freely, travel freely and escape from poverty - oh what a mess that would be - Our hero Stalin even said so.

I never want to make Minnesota politicians like those of the USSR so our politicians will be forced to shoot us for attempting to escape. By killing the oil companies, our politicians will not need to kill us instead and thats a real blessing.

Posted by Bruce Frykman | February 26, 2008 6:32 AM