Legislative watchers might have tuned in to the Senate floor debate Wednesday morning expecting to see heated
debate about the state government finance budget bill.
Instead, they saw Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, give a lengthy discussion about exhibits at the Science Museum of Minnesota, including a detailed history of King Tut and a discussion of dinosaur exhibits, complete with butchered names of the terrestrial vertebrates.
Republicans made repeated attempts to block Pappas in what appeared an effort to delay the debate and postpone the vote. The Science Museum is among numerous targets for state budget cuts as legislators try to beat down the state’s $5 billion projected deficit.
“It’s really a fascinating story about Tut,” said Pappas, causing smirks and eye-rolling among GOP colleagues.
State Sen. Julianne Ortman, who was guiding Senate deliberations, urged Pappas to “please keep your comments to the budget, not your visit to the Science Museum.”
Pappas started up again: “Madam chair, there were actually some x-rays taken of tut” decades ago, which suggested the ancient Egyptian pharaoh might have been murdered.
Republicans interrupted, saying her comments had nothing to do with the budget.
“I am worried about the Science Museum’s ability to fulfill its mission,” Pappas said.
A few minutes later, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, proposed sending the proposed budget back to a committee for more discussion.
The move further extended the debate.