Even more surprising than Gov. Mark Dayton’s move to induce the Legislature to reopen negotiations on some bills by vetoing its operating budget is the relative silence from DFL legislators on protecting the balance of power among the branches of state government. Consider the scenarios that are possible if this tactic were to stand (“Dayton is sued as legislative funding fight escalates,” June 6).
A governor would essentially have ultimate control of state budget decisions by always holding the power to shut down the Legislature. DFLers, someday it could be a Republican governor doing this to you.
A governor and one branch of the Legislature — let’s say the House — frustrated by the other party in control of the Senate, could agree that the governor would line-item-veto the Senate out of operation until the Senate majority agreed to return and capitulate to demands. The ability of a minority party in control of one chamber to negotiate for its assent would be destroyed.
Could this approach apply to the judicial branch? Could a governor, upset by what he or she saw as an activist judiciary, defund its work?
For the sake of good governance in Minnesota, the appropriate balance and independence of the branches of state government should be recognized and preserved, and the governor’s attempt to shut down one branch with which he disagrees should be overturned.
Mike Hess, Minneapolis
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The proposed suit by the Republican watchdog group is, at best, small-minded. Consider:
(1) That Dayton’s line-item veto was preceded by the Republican legislators’ reverse version of the line-item veto — inserting a threat to punish the Department of Revenue if the governor didn’t comply.
(2) That the suit will defend only the 201 legislators. What about the rest of the 500 staff members? Have they no equal right to defense of their livelihood? Are they responsible for this Legislature’s ongoing acrimony?
Minnesota citizens expect our legislative leaders to lead, and to perform their elected jobs in a public forum, not in closed court. Is this not but one more end-of-session clandestine negotiation, once again without the entire paid legislative body’s review? If “tit-for-tat” is the name of today’s game, the “tat” should give us pause. Nor should the “tit” surprise us.
Judith Monson, St. Paul
Editorial Board is all in, but parents need to have choices
I am deeply disturbed by the June 5 editorial (“Act to prevent next measles outbreak”), which seeks to remove parental rights. Parents should question the current vaccination schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which calls for 72 doses of vaccines by age 18 and which has exploded since 1986, when Congress declared vaccines “unavoidably unsafe” and gave pharmaceutical companies immunity from being sued.
If parents want to skip or delay even one of these vaccines — like hepatitis B, which is transmitted via body fluid (there is no scientific backing for giving this vaccine on day one of life), or varicella, which we all got as kids (the chickenpox vaccine was added to the schedule so parents wouldn’t have to miss work and now has created an epidemic of shingles) — or even if they want to space out vaccinations and not have their child get eight in one visit, the child needs an exemption to attend day care or school.
Most parents who question vaccine safety are not anti-vaccine. Rather, they have vaccinated their children, and the children were injured or killed by their vaccines.
Vaccines should never be mandated, because where there is a risk, there must be a choice. Forty-seven states have personal belief/conscientious or religious exemptions, but now the Star Tribune Editorial Board recommends taking away Minnesota’s personal belief exemption which violates the Nuremberg Code. If we don’t have a choice over what is injected into our bodies, what rights do we have left? There are more than 300 vaccines in development, so if you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and take every vaccine added to the schedule, you need to fight for your right to parental choice and medical freedom.
Kristin Sullivan, St. Paul
Contrary to letter, the medical profession bears responsibility
There’s little doubt that some patients suffering from terminal and invasive malignancies may benefit from opioids, but the pharmacist who defended their use in a May 27 letter (“The worst scenarios can’t be allowed to outweigh the best”) then went off-track, writing that “addiction is a rare and unpredicted result of opioid administration.” Not so. Research shows that almost half of patients in treatment for opioid use had their first exposure via a physician’s prescription. Additional research has shown that of 1.3 million patients with an opioid prescription, 34,000 continued the drug for a year or longer and 6,400 for more than three years. Each additional day of use increased the odds of long-term use, with the odds rising significantly after only five days of use.
The letter writer also cautioned against shaming the medical profession, but the fact is that we increased prescriptions for opioids by 300 percent over the past 20 years, with at least 50 percent of those scrips directed at treatment of chronic, non-cancer-related pain. Sadly, the campaign aimed at making pain the fifth vital sign was largely responsible for this increase.
Obviously, there are other forces at work, with large geographic variations in prevalence of the opioid epidemic and deaths from overdose, but the attempt to minimize the impact of this public health disaster is misguided.
Dr. Charles E. Dean, Apple Valley
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In her deeply troubling letter defending opioids, the Rochester pharmacist made a series of grossly misinformed statements, including that “addiction is a rare and unpredicted result of opioid administration” and that “the onus is [on patients] to take them responsibly.” Addiction is a blameless, unavoidable and predictable consequence of long-term opioid use for a sizable portion of users, according to both the CDC and Mayo Clinic pain-management clinicians, meaning that her beliefs are not a reflection of best practices and that she should revisit them. By clinging to nonscientific moral reasoning and drug marketing lies, she ignores the tidal wave of heartache, chaos and loss wrought by their use in the treatment of chronic conditions, an avoidable tragedy responsible for the death of Prince and tens of thousands of Americans each year.
Paul John Scott, Rochester
JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Why was this man on the loose?
After reading the article about the death of Krista Sandstrom (“Hit-and-run victim was chorale singer,” June 5), the victim of a “suspected hit-and-run motorist with a dangerous driving history,” I was wondering how many convictions are needed to get someone such as Israel Delossantos off the streets. Apparently, an armed second-degree assault conviction, two drunken-driving convictions, at least six convictions for domestic abuse or assault, and four convictions for driving after having his license revoked aren’t enough. Perhaps now with a killing under his belt, Delossantos will remain jailed — unless, of course, he is put under “intensive court-supervised release” until his next hit-and-run victim.
Estee Stene Krueger, Apple Valley