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Tuesday Talk: What priorities did lawmakers neglect?

May 15, 2012 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Conservatives wasted the first three months of 2012’s legislative session working on divisive social and anti-workers issues – Voter ID, Right to Work, Shoot-first and LIFO. Their key piece of legislation—the tax bill—was a corporate giveaway, providing little support to average Minnesota homeowners. As the clock was running out, conservatives scrambled to craft stadium and bonding legislation, which wouldn’t have passed without such strong labor support.

Without these key accomplishments, was it even worth turning on the lights at the Capitol this year? What policy priorities has Minnesota’s 87th Legislative Session left undone?  

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  • John Crampton says:

    May 15, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Throw the Republican bums out.  They are worthless.  Give them back to the vicious and despicable Koch Brothers. Let’s elect people who actually care what happens to the 99% of us here in Minnesota.

  • Cee Vee says:

    May 15, 2012 at 8:14 am

    At the risk of sound flip, they neglected pretty much everything that matters to the majority of people in Minnesota and focused instead on the wants of some millionaires and billionaires, reflecting the priorities of the Republican national platform and their 1% benefactors.

  • norm hanosn says:

    May 15, 2012 at 8:16 am

    They say that all politics are local, whomever in the heck they is, so presumably many of the voters in the various legislative districts that elected T-Party/very conservative types to represent them are very happy with what they would consider the good work of the legislature save for its failure to get a few more social program restrictions passed.  As such, the local folks in each district will decide whether to “throw the bums out” in November, return them to office to continue their good work, or to put even more conservative folks in their places instead.  Will be an interesting election.  It is great that polls show that most Minnesotans favor this or that but given the local nature of politics, such things are totally irrelevant.

  • KJC says:

    May 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Sadly, I think a complete answer would far exceed the allowed length of our posts on this site.
    What didn’t they neglect?  That might fit.  Well, the Billionaire Owner and the Millionaire Players got what they wanted.  Sadly again, that example says where the priorities were, so often.
    Another example? While there is NO evidence of significant voter fraud in our state, they managed to?  Get that issue onto the ballot… in hopes of disenfranchising voters (more from the party out of power.) 
    So little of the regular peoples’ business got done… and since Republicans have both Houses, the blame falls squarely on them.  They ran on jobs and we ended up with a stadium, possible voter disenfranchisement and the Amy Koch scandal.
    They make me embarrassed to be a citizen of our great state.  November is coming.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Since you ask Joe, it looks like a bipartisan Gambling win to me. Worse than that a BS Gambling win that is going to fall back on the General fund because those increased Gambling funds are never going to materialize. This was a bipartisan sell out of the poorest addicted Minnesotans they could find. Using one group of addicts (gamblers) to pay for another group of addicts (sports addicts) entertainment. A prime example of the rich and middle class working to sckrew the 62% working class majority again. Don’t forget our Governor who made the Stadium the most important thing on his agenda no matter who got sckrewed to get it.

  • Joe says:

    May 15, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Most of us reading this website are engaged in Minnesota’s day-to-day policy needs and debates. We understand what was neglected. But do you guys think the general public recognizes what didn’t get done?

    I think of people like my parents who went to work, came home around 6, did homework/school stuff with the kids and were too busy making a living and a home to engage in the business of running the state.

    Do these middle-class families realize what’s not getting done?

  • Sue B says:

    May 15, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I hate everything the Republican/Tea Party majority did and didn’t do this year. They shut down the government, refused to work with Democrats for the good of the people of the state, signed no-tax pledges, proposed bills and, even worse, constitutional amendments that are anti-labor, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-democracy, anti-environment, anti-education, anti-jobs, anti-fairness, anti-middle class, and pro-billionaire.  Everything they did was a disaster. 

    One thing that infuriates me is that they cut the relatively small SW Light Rail Corridor money from the bonding bill, which will probably ‘de-rail’ the whole project.  Without our small financial committment, we won’t get the federal money, which would cover the majority of the cost of the project.  Of course, that’s precisely why they did it.  Vote the Republicans out!

  • KJC says:

    May 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    You might as well put a number on what the Federal Contribution to that SWLightRail might have been… between $500-600 Million.  Building a Minnesota equipped for the future, and having the jobs of building that?  That didn’t seem to count for much with this legislature.
    Looking at the record, it seems so “anti” of many things matter to regular folks…  they had plenty of time for that.
    There are legislatures that do better than others… and then there’s this one: so bad it’s embarrassing.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    May 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Sue hate is a wasted emotion unless you can find a way to turn it into action. You remember the old saying, “Knowledge is power”, well it is only half way to the truth. In reality “Applied Knowledge is power”, the same is true of hatred don’t waste it.

  • Ron Leurquin says:

    May 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    What did they neglect?

    They neglected the general public by not keeping the campaign promises many of them made in order to get elected.

    They neglected to creat jobs.
    They neglected to respond to thier constituents (unless its was a constutuent that actually VOTED for them).
    They neglected to be moderate in thier actions that affect ALL of MN, not just the fwe they weere chosing to ACTUALLY represent.

    What they did do was a disaster in that they let thier pledges to non MN power structures like ALEC, the Koch brothers and the like get in the way of working FOR ALL of thier constituents that live here in MN.

    While most of my derision over the last two years goes mostly twoard the Tea party in particular, some of it is reserves for the balance of the GOP that is not Tea party and for the DFL.

    What we have are a lot of politicians that should be given thier pink slips and never allowed in elected office again.

  • John Kolstad says:

    May 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      An old Chinese proverb states, “the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name…”
      I would think that 20/20   would know the difference between Conservatives and Reactionaries.  Conservatives do not support dramatic change,  especially if it denies civil and constitutional rights.  Conservatives would never have supported this outrageously irresponsible Corporate Welfare for the Vikings.  conservatives would never borrow from the public schools to protect the Rich from paying there share of taxes.  No,  these are right wing Reactionaries who want to take us back to the 1890’s.
      You are correct,  this rotten Vikings deal would not have gone thru with out the support of Labor.  I think this will do serious harm to labor in the future.  Giving $1.9 billion to a billionaire, with an illegal Conference Committee and victimizing the poor, the retired, the working class and even the Middle Class.  These people who call themselves unions are a disgrace to real, traditional unions who sided with the people and not with the Billionaire Bosses.  Union endorsed is now a negative for a candidate for many people.  These are people who understand how important it is to have real unions who resist the power of the wealthy elite,  but this crowd gets into bed with these elites and forces the poor to pay for it and their short term jobs.
      But please,  use the correct terms.  If you don’t understand the difference,  google “political spectrum”  or ask a high school student who has taken poli sci.

  • John Kolstad says:

    May 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Yes, throw the Repubs out,  but the majority leadership and majority of the DFL is no better.  This theft of public resources for a billionaire could not have happened without the DFL.  The House vote was 43 DFL and 39 GOP for giving our money to Ziggy for his new Palace.  There must be somebody and some political party that we can vote for,  or have we become like the Soviet Union only instead of voting for the Commie of you choice, it is vote for the Corporatist of you choice.

  • Lisa Boehlke says:

    May 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    The members of the Legislature needed to provide support for the daily bread issues:
    health care for all, more jobs which pay a living wage, job training, and education.
    More and more families live under stressful conditions, yet neither schools nor the counties offer adequate group or individual mental health support to develop strategies to heal dysfunctional behavior.

    Voter ID? Anti-union? Anti-teacher? Have any of the sponsors of these bills walked any distance in the lives of the people who would be negatively affected by these bills?

  • Sue B says:

    May 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Bill..I said that I hated their actions, not the people themselves.  I agree that knowledge is power.  Unfortunately, it seems many voters have very little knowledge about issues when they vote.  Many only pay attention to one issue (abortion, guns, anti-LGBT issues), and let themselves be manipulated by the 1% and the religious right to vote against their own best interests on everything else.  They listen to hours of right-wing hate talk, a few sound bites, and attack ads paid for by SuperPacs and billionaires.  That’s not knowledge (how else do you explain the election and re-election of Michelle Bachmann?).  Sadly, we all pay the price for this lack of knowledge.  How do you suggest we fix the problem so we can once again have elected officials willing to work together and get things done for the good of all?  First, I say we overturn Citizens United and get the big money out of politics.

  • Cathy says:

    May 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I was so disappointed that the bonding bill didn’t include enough money to fully repair and restore the State Capitol. The skimpy support for this project is symbolic of the skimpy support for other infrastructure needs of the state - tranportation, clean air and water, education, health care.

  • ChristeenStone says:

    May 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Having read through the opinions above
    I have to agree there is a lot of truth in most of them. As a senior who spent a great deal of time working on issues for seniors and other vulnerable people, I have to say a few things did happen that was on the bright side of bipartisan work.
    After many years of trying to join the other 45 states that make it a felony to
    do serious harm or neglect of vulnerable people a bill was passed. We consider that a real victory for all. There were other bills which would have done harm to vulnerable people which were put on hold, so they can be looked at a different time, so while not a victory at least this gives   us hope of another chance. I especially appreciated the fact Rate Equalization for Nursing Homes was not heard on the House Floor giving us hopes a bipartisan solution can be found.That was an issue very important to me as a senior. I testified on that issue in both the House and Senate.
    I share the frustration of the time and money wasted on what I felt were useless issues like all the constitutional amendments and the Viking Stadium. I do not oppose the Stadium, just to have it financed by such a regressive taxes. I would be happy to see it paid for those who own it and use it. I have to admit this has been a very stressful session for everyone.

  • Dan Conner says:

    May 23, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Sue, I totally agree with you.  Republicans seem preoccupied with destroying the infrastructure of our society while they take care of people who have been entirely too good at taking care of themselves already.

    Allowing Republicans a plurality in our Congress and legislatures means goodbye to the middle-class, and all sorts of restrictions on individual freedoms.  It means the resurgence of racism and fear.  Most of all it means a reverse robin hood approach to government that will enslave all who are not rich.