Posted: 05/27/15 23:25
by Dave Mindeman
The messy end to the 2015 session had plenty of blame to pass around. The House Republicans obviously pushed a familiar agenda, but their puffery on making things "right" for Greater MN ended with just that - puffery. Most of what Greater MN was looking for never happened.
But another divide emerged at session end which has greater consequences for the Governor and progressive Democrats. And it sits squarely in the Democratic Senate.
When the Senate votes were taken on the Ag/Enviro bill, this is worth noting:
Ten Democrats, nearly all from rural districts, joined Republicans to pass the bill, 35 to 30. There were 29 Senate Democrats, including Eaton and Dibble, who voted against it.
Only 1 Republican voted against the bill. In a Democratic Senate, shouldn't that fact alone make you wonder how good a bill this could be for a Democratic agenda? A bill that deals with the progressive issue of the environment has all but one of the Senate Republicans offering their support. That makes me shudder about the policy in that bill.
Granted, the 10 Democrats in rural districts had agriculture policy to promote here, but it is worrisome that there seems to be a block of Democrats developing that can side with Republican policy. And Leader Bakk seems to be giving that block his tepid blessing.
This reminds me of the Senate make-up during the tenure of Leader Dean Johnson. There was a block of Senators that were adamantly anti-Choice and would constantly hold up Health and Human Services bills with unwarranted anti-abortion amendments.
Dayton will have to try and make policy work through two Houses that are at odds with very different parts of his goals. Finding common ground on one front is difficult enough, but Dayton has to make a triumvirate come together on several bills.
Last year's loss of the Democratic House has proven to be a much bigger disaster than we realized. It should be obvious that we need to double our efforts on retaking that ground in 2016.