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Tuesday Talk: How did policymakers win? How did policymakers weasel out?

May 21, 2013 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Minnesota 2020 warned progressives and policymakers not to overreach this legislative session. Overcoming a decade of disinvestment and divisive policy would take a couple of legislative sessions. That’s pretty much what happened. This session brought Minnesota a greater degree of tax fairness, reinvested in education and communities, and brought wider health care access via a state exchange. Still, there’s a lot of work left. Lawmakers didn’t pass anti-bullying legislation, the environmental bill is underwhelming at best.

What are this session’s winning policy outcomes; and where did policy leaders weasel out?

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  • Jim Mork says:

    May 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

    “Weasel out”?  Try facing the realities of the last election. It got rid of the ALEC people, some of them, but it didn’t elect a progressive majority.  The Democrats who got Tea Party seats ran as conservatives. Just because you get a “DFL majority”, doesn’t mean you get the votes for a strong progressive agenda. That being the case, you can say there was never a mandate for all the stuff you were expecting.  Pretty much true throughout US politics. The majority can shift from party to party, but the mandate is always less than progressives hope.

  • Sue B says:

    May 21, 2013 at 6:55 am

    The obvious winner is the passage of the marriage equality bill.  Even though I am a strong supporter of marriage equality, I felt that maybe the legislature should concentrate on balancing the budget this session, give Governor Dayton and the Democrats a better chance to be reelected in two years, and then pursue this.  But, you know what, who knows how long it would have been before we had this kind of opportunity again…the governor, house and senate?  Everything was in place now, having just spent the past year or two fighting the (anti)marriage amendment in November’s election.  I equate this with other important civil rights issues, like desegregation, civil rights and voting rights, and women’s suffrage.  It’s a basic freedom and shouldn’t have to wait. 

    The worst thing of this session is no bonding bill!  Interest rates have never been lower.  Any delay will just end up costing us more money in the long run.  Rebuilding our infrastructure when money is cheap is a no-brainer to me, plus, it would create jobs and help the economy.

  • Don Schultz says:

    May 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Weaseled out?  The legislature’s failure to pass ANY minimum wage improvement is pure and simple a no-brainer disgrace for them and (once again) for Minnesota.

  • Linda Winsor says:

    May 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Gun violence prevention legislation was front and center for the majority of Minnesotans with polls showing overwhelming support for strengthening background checks for all gun sales in MN.  It is disappointing that leadership broke its promise for bringing gun violence prevention legislation to the House & Senate floors for a vote.

  • margaret says:

    May 21, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Policymakers definitely weaseled out on transportation. The failure to pass a balanced, statewide transportation plan that the governor would support means that highway and transit projects will wait for funding, growing more expensive while economic opportunities are lost and people struggle with deteriorating streets, fewer transit options and growing congestion.

  • Charles Zea says:

    May 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

    A lot of good things got done but there was some things that didn’t get done that should have got done.

    The one thing that I am disappointed with was the inability to expand the sale tax to include the more services.  To much time was spent on talking about putting a sales tax on clothing.  In the past more money was spent on goods than services.  Over time the spending shifted from goods to services, now more money is spent on services than goods.  It only make sense to go where the money is and now it the services.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    May 21, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I believe that the first Democratic legislature in way too long was right to try to achieve as much as they could this session. Some Dems from conservative districts joined with Republicans to defeat or weaken some legislation their constituents don’t support (more meaningful gun control, for instance), but very important legislation did get passed, as others have noted.

    The bonding bill was among those that passed, but was greatly reduced. They’ll no doubt try again next year.  Maybe they could even kill the Giant bridge across the St. Croix in favor of the smaller option. 

    Maybe they could even somehow kill our huge gift to the Wilf brothers—or at least pay for it in ways that don’t depend on poor people gambling against l - o - n - g odds.

  • Linda Slattengren says:

    May 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Unfortunate phrasing of question from the negative “weasel out”,
    I think we have seen an historic outcome of successes in a short session that was filled with wins for MN. It was just not feasible to address all the “wish lists” that came to the first progressive majority in years.
    Imagine what well organized issues will pass in next session.
    When the progressives review the work we can allow the naysayers to be the GOP. Others considered supporters can jump in and back the work and organize the issues for passage that didn’t get accomplished.

  • Rick says:

    May 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I think the PolicyMakers got a fair amount accomplished. Some good and some not.
    I wish somebody could come up with some sound financial economic growth plans for this state without taxing everybody to death.

  • Joan Bindner says:

    May 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I am still steaming about lawmakers not getting the minimum wage increased.  As a part-time worker, and it’s not like I’m not looking for better, the low minimum wage not only keeps me in poverty but the roller coaster ride of hours keeps creditors trying to knock my door down.  This is agony!  And don’t get me started on the senate only considering $7.75 an hour.  OMG!

  • Joan Bindner says:

    May 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

    here, here!

  • Ginny says:

    May 23, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    We should have had a minimum wage raise—at least to $9.50 an hours. There is no evidence whatsoever—in fact, it is contrary to what conservatives claim—that it takes away jobs and other regrettable outcomes. The one thing it does do, we know as a fact, is that people have a little more money to spend, and they SPEND it, they do not, like wealthier people, stash it away someplace. That increases the demand and leads to more jobs.