House and Senate conferees broke up their most recent meeting about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, with no agreement. Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, in a closing statement, said the House wants to get an agreement on $210 million in Legacy spending. But a lot of ground will have to give — mostly on the House side — if a pact is to be agreed upon.
Regardless how things stand when the Legislature adjourns in the next day or so, a transition is occurring — a major shift in political allegiances. Doubtless, the House will find the going much more difficult in future sessions, trying to circle the wagons of environmental advocates particularly, when needed.
The reason: No one — not the greenest of green groups, and certainly not hunting and angling groups — trusts this bunch, anymore. Rep. Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis
, no doubt will feel the fallout, as will Murphy, as will Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL South St. Paul.
By contrast, the Senate continues to solidify its position. Even Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul, who had been the subject of considerable skepticism in recent months, while a member of the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council, has risen to a position of general admiration as conferees have met now for consecutive days, albeit without much to show for it.
Early Sunday, while the conference committee was preparing to adjourn, it was suggested by the Senate side that conferees should be prepared to meet through the night Sunday and Monday to get an agreement. The gavel is in the Senate's hands today, Sunday, so that appears likely to happen, barring a significant early shift in the House's position.
Meanwhile, the hearing room is packed. DNR representatives are there, as are representatives of all manner of conservation and environmental constituency groups, in addition to some members of the Lessard council. No testimony is being taken.