Floor-a-palooza liveblog: Part 3
Posted at 4:14 PM on April 3, 2008 by Michael Marchio
4:15 - Rep. Mark Olson is trying to re-refer the entire bill to the House Finance Committee. I somehow doubt that will happen.
4:22 - Rep. Torrey Westrom said that Rep. Wagenius likes recycling, and that if you applied the same principle of separating your glass from your plastic and paper, this bill would be easier to process.
4:30 - Majority Leader Sertich is calling out Rep. Westrom for professing his opposition to omnibus bills, while still voting for them when he was in the majority. "Members, hypocrisy runs amok on the floor, with the exception of Rep. Olson." He started off by saying that Rep. Olson's views on omnibus bills have been consistent, unlike other representatives speaking up on the floor.
4:34 - The argument that the House is having is that bills are only supposed to deal with one subject, according to the Minnesota Constitution, and that if the bill is passed, it will be ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
4:41 - Rep. Westrom is now asking Sertich to go through his votes on finance bills for the last six years. The job of the minority is to frustrate the majority, but its hard to see how these lines of questioning do much but keep lawmakers here later.
4:49 - Rep. Sertich just brought out this massive bill, 1,200 pages long, that the Republicans passed to balance the budget when they were in the majority. Lifting it, he said "is probably how Rep. Paulsen got those guns."
4:59 - Minority Leader Seifert proposing an amendment that would drain something called the "Legislative Carryforward" balances. This is apparently what pays for various services like the TV coverage, according to Majority Leader Sertich. It does not pass.
5:06 - Rep Severson is offering an amendment to fund a study on veteran employment. This one might actually be close.
5:09 - And they've accepted it, by a voice vote no less! There's a step in the right direction.
5:11 - Here's an interesting one. Rep. Garofalo, a Republican, is trying to strip the funding for the RNC, $14 million. The funding comes from the budget reserves, but Rep. Carlson said that it would be paid back by the Republican party. The Governor apparently wanted it, as well as each cities leaders.
5:16 - So they just voted on this, and it failed, so someone called for a division. When it came to actually standing up to strip RNC funding, instead of just hollering, Rep. Garofalo was looking pretty lonely on his side of the aisle.
5:32 - Majority Leader Sertich just stopped by the Commish, and gave him some guff for not doling out points for the dedicated environmental funding bill, HF2285, he sponsored. Unfortunately, any bill not part of the 2008 session couldn't be counted in our scoring, but he gets a shout out here. Mother nature thanks you, Rep. Sertich.
He also explained that the session is able to go to 7 in the morning if rules are suspended, before it counts as another legislative day. Lets hope for their sake, and the Commish's, that it does not go that late.
Here's another interesting little tidbit. He said that the minority brings up amendments in groups of five, and that once they reach the last one, they bring up a new batch of five. Does anyone else think that's kind of psychological torture. You think you're through with amendments, and then bam!, another stack of five. Someone should tell Dick Cheney about this, he may be able to use it if they ban waterboarding.
6:18 - Rep. McNamara is offering an amendment to strip the funding for the Pollution Control Agency to test for California emissions standards, which is included in the bill. Under his amendment, it wouldn't apply until Minnesota's neighboring states adopt the California emissions, so that people in border regions of the state aren't put at a disadvantage. This would basically prevent the testing in Minnesota though, and North and South Dakota may never accept California Emissions.
6:31 - You know, I think about half the House has spoken so far. MFL managers will be rolling in the points. No Rukavina yet, though, which is kind of surprising. I'm sure he'll be speaking up too.
6:40 - Rep. McNamara is saying that Minnesota has way more high emission vehicles like trucks and SUVs than California, but I'm not so sure that's true. There are a lot of pickup trucks in California, and SUVs too, even though they probably can't say they "need" them like we do, for all our off-roading and whatnot. Commercial vehicles are exempted too, so lawn care companies won't be hit.
6:47 - Speak of the devil - Rep. Rukavina is offering an amendment. It would give $100,000 to the commissioner of the DNR to convert an ATV trail to a dual usage trail that could also have "Off-Highway Vehicles" whatever those are.
For a refresher, this is the bill that would allow you use deadly force if you feel your life is in "significant risk," or shoot someone you see committing a felony.
Rep. Mullery, the chair of the Public Safety Committee, rose on a point of order that the amendment wasn't germane, to which the Republican part of the chamber started laughing. This bill does touch on pretty much everything under the sun, so it would be pretty hard to say anything isn't germane.
"To rule that this amendment is not germane would make of mockery of what is happening in this chamber here," according to Rep. Buesgens.
7:00 - Rep. Rockstar, I mean, Rep. Abeler, just rose to say that even though the measure is controversial, the germaneness argument is bull, and that the Senate tried to avoid a vote banning certain types of abortions through germaneness because it didn't mention abortion in the bill.