Overview: Republicans run roughshod over legislative process; progress grinds to a halt

After a Monday night maneuver in which Republicans stopped negotiating with the Governor and closed up most of their budget bill conference committees, DFLers and Governor Dayton are calling out Republicans for doing the people’s work at the legislature in the dead of night, with no notice and no accountability. This runs contrary to promises of transparency made by both leaders of the Republican House and Senate.

Four months ago, Republican leaders promised accountability and that legislative work would take place in committees – in the light of day. Earlier this week Republicans seemed to forget those promises, and abandoned all attempts at compromising with the Governor.

With no public notice, Republicans signed finalized conference committee bills. Most of these conference committees have not taken public testimony, and provided dark-of-night notice of the early morning hearings that took place on Tuesday this week.

DFLers argue this isn’t the way Minnesotans expect their government to run, nor is it what democracy looks like. For Minnesotans, this late night mischief means they have no say in the $1.5 billion Republicans are rolling out the door.

Tuesday night Senate Republicans passed the environment and natural resources finance, education finance, state government, and health and human services bills. DFLers were vocal in their disdain for not only the process, but the inadequate level of funding in the bills as well as the bad policies that many argue will hurt Minnesotans.

Governor Dayton has promised to veto all of these bills that were buttoned up in the middle of the night, which will make for a busy final week of session.

Complicating legislative matters even further is the fact that one member of the Senate Republican majority has been missing the last two days, attending to their dying father’s bedside. Leading the Senate with a one-seat majority is proving difficult for Republicans, because it means they can’t pass any major budget bills until their member returns.

The Senate still needs to pass its taxes, transportation, higher education, and judiciary budget bills. In their current forms, the Governor has promised vetoes of all of them.

This weekend the Governor is spending time with both Republican leaders for the state’s fishing opener weekend.

Session will end on May 22.