State Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, may be the newest member of the Minnesota Senate, but he already has made legislative history.
Abeler, who was elected to the Minnesota Senate in a special election last month, was the first member of the Minnesota Senate sworn into office in the new Minnesota Senate Building.
There is one additional legislative accomplishment that Abeler has earned, but not by his choice: The legislative session started last week, but Abeler has not been appointed to any committees in the Minnesota Senate.
Abeler’s formal appointment to committees has been caught up in a larger disagreement between Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Senate Minority David Hann, R-Eden Prairie over the reorganization of legislative committees.
Abeler replaced Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, in the Minnesota Senate, and Abeler could have simply filled the open committee assignments created by Petersen's resignation.
Hann issued a press release yesterday, which said the "abuse of power by Sen. Bakk and the DFL majority should be condemned by all Minnesotans, regardless of political affiliation."
"The issue isn’t me," said Abeler, who added, "I'm like a kid who came home from school, and the parents are fighting and nobody is making dinner."
Abeler said he will continue to attend the meetings of the committees he will eventually serve on as a new senator, but until he is officially appointed to the committees by the leadership of the Minnesota Senate, he cannot cast any votes.
Picture source: Minnesota Senate