As discouraging as it is that the 2015 Legislature will need a special session to finish its work, it is encouraging that the three people most to blame for overtime are working this week to make that session happen quickly.
Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk gathered last week at the governor’s residence.
A couple of points came quickly into focus. First, with the Capitol under remodeling, they settled on a special-session venue — the State Office Building. Second, based on comments from Bakk, it’s clear Dayton and Daudt will do the heavy lifting — and compromising — required to avoid a partial state government shutdown July 1.
Plus, with the indication the session will last only one day, it’s clear their deal-making will be done behind closed doors. How else are you going to get a divided Legislature to approve what could be six bills in less than 24 hours?
Yes, we said six bills — which raises another unsettling development about this special session. Shouldn’t its agenda be limited to the three bills Dayton vetoed?
Apparently, that’s not what key leaders are thinking. As of Wednesday, reports indicated a bonding bill, a legacy bill and a tax bill could be taken up, along with the three bills the governor vetoed: the education bill, the environment-agriculture bill and the jobs-energy bill.
Central Minnesotans should be truly astounded by the ineptness displayed on both sides of the aisle in this 2015 session. The state’s 201 legislators, along with Dayton, not only had more than four months to craft a two-year state budget, but they had an extra $1.9 billion to help negotiate their way through any hurdles.
Instead, they followed a path that’s become all too familiar the past decade or so. First, each side staked out its political grounds. Then they all dawdled for a few months while awaiting official budget projections. Finally, a handful of elected officials spent the last few days of the regular session behind closed doors trying to create — ahem — compromises from their original positions.
For the third time in about 10 years, though, they failed. So now Minnesotans again must wait for those same leaders to go back behind those closed doors and do the public’s business.
Success means a two-year budget resolved in secret. Failure means a partial government shutdown.
Honestly, though, whatever the outcome, it’s a legislative failure. Again.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE ST. CLOUD TIMES