New House leader says GOP won't push legislation until governor's race resolvedby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The incoming Republican Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers said he won't try to push through policy and budget bills before the governor's race gets resolved.
Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty is supposed to leave office the first week of January, but is poised to stay on the job longer if a recount battle lingers the between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer.
The Legislative session begins on January 4, but During an appearance Monday on MPR's Midday program, Zellers said his GOP caucus will not try to take advantage of a Pawlenty holdover. Zellers said that kind of move would be irresponsible and disrespectful.
"We'll have to present our budget. We'll have to present what we believe are some spending targets [and] where we think we're going to prioritize our spending," he said.
Zellers said to just run in, grab a bunch of legislation, throw it on Gov. Pawlenty's desk and pass it out would be disrespectful to the process.
"I think [it] would be a bad way to start the relationships," he said.
The new Republican leaders also said that a bonding bill will not be a top priority for the 2011 session.
DFL lawmakers have pushed bonding bills in recent years as a way to create construction jobs throughout the state. But the Republicans, who'll now control both chambers, say that have a different strategy.
Incoming GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said she wants to focus on creating jobs in the private sector.
"I'm not going to say absolutely no to a bonding bill, but I want to make sure any kind of bonding that we do is focused on infrastructure and transportation," Koch said. "But that's something down the line a little bit. I think that there are a lot of things to be done first."
Zellers said there are still many construction projects approved in previous sessions that have yet to get underway.