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< Some points for Pogemiller | Main | Props to Speaker Kelliher >

Should Met Council have staggered terms?

Posted at 11:02 AM on April 16, 2008 by Michael Marchio (2 Comments)

Even before a word is spoken on some bills, you can just feel that the Legislature is going to go down one of Lewis Carroll's rabbit holes debating it. SF2606/HF2662 is one of those bills. The bill, carried by Sen. Kathy Saltzman (DFL-Woodbury) and Rep. Sandra Peterson (DFL-New Hope) has already passed by the Senate, and is being debated on the House floor right now.

It would stagger the terms of the Metropolitan Council. The 16 members of the Met Council are appointed by the governor, and serve four year terms. This would put half the members up for appointment every two years. It also changes the rules of the Met Council so that members can only be removed for cause, a departure from the current law that says they serve at the pleasure of the governor.

The main argument by DFLers was that replacing every member at the same time hurts the council by losing institutional knowledge. The Republicans saw the measure as unnecessary on its face.

A stack of amendments seems to be piling up, each one less closely related than the last.

Rep. Jim Abeler offered an amendment to strip the bill of the staggered terms provisions, which failed.

Then Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) offered an amendment to make the seats on the Met Council elective instead of appointive.

"The bill in front of us is a goofy measure, and the amendment in front of us would make it even goofier," Rep. Mark Buesgens said.

Rep. Melissa Hortman tried to make the chair of the Met Council elective too, but at that point (maybe sensing it could actually pass), Rep. Peppin withdrew her amendment.

Rep. Laura Brod tried to get her staggered terms for the Senate, which I wrote about here, attached to the bill, but sensing a germaneness ruling wasn't going to go her way, withdrew it.

Rep. Kurt Zellers offered one that would create a tax free zone for Northwest Airlines if they would stay, one that Republicans had mentioned at news of the merger.

And then Rep. Mark Olson offered an amendment to basically strip the Met Council of funding.

There doesn't appear any end in sight for these amendments, so later today, I'll let you know when it passes. What do we learn from this? Bills that rock the boat, especially in ways that are only vaguely necessary, attract amendments like politicians to a TV camera.

There are 38 bills the House is supposed to get to today, and that means points for your lawmakers. Check back for the scoop later.

UPDATE: Here's the story on the House shooting Rep. Zeller's amendment down.

Comments (2)

That's Rep Sandy Peterson from New Hope.

Also, you have Melissa Hortman offering an amendment and Joyce Peppin withdrawing it.

Posted by linda higgins | April 16, 2008 4:55 PM

Sen. Higgins is so on top of things, she's able to pass legislation and correct the Commish at the same time. She is right, that is Sandy Peterson. There is no Sarah Peterson.

But it was Rep. Peppin's amendment to change , and Rep. Hortman offered an amendment to her amendment. Sorry about not making that clear.

Posted by Michael Marchio | April 16, 2008 5:20 PM