We’re in the midst of interesting budget negotiations, but I’m happy to report we’re well ahead of schedule. Because we set and met early deadlines, we still have three weeks left to button up our budget proposals.
The House and the Senate have been working great together, and we just released our budget targets for each issue area today. The only problem we’re encountering is unfortunately a large one. Governor Dayton and his staff have not been engaged in the budget process at all. We’ve had our budget passed for quite some time, yet the governor refuses to sit down with the legislature and advocate his position. We can’t know if he’ll sign or veto our bills if he isn’t willing to come to the table and negotiate. It’s such an integral part of the process that it’s frustrating to see the governor drag his feet.
There’s a reason for all this, of course. Governor Dayton is the only one who can call a special session if we don’t finish the budget before we adjourn. That means, he gains the most from trying to force the legislature into last-second negotiations. He wanted an all-DFL legislature, but Minnesotans picked a different direction in November. He has to recognize that, and be willing to sit down and understand that in any negotiation, neither party gets everything they want. That’s how it should be, and that’s what Minnesotans expect from us in St. Paul.
Along with conference committees and negotiations, we’re also passing meaningful standalone bills. This week, the House approved two pro-life measures that I was proud to support. One of these bills would require any clinic performing 10 or more abortions each month to be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health. This would mean these facilities would also comply with all inspections. This seems like a no-brainer, and makes you wonder how this isn’t currently the case. The other bill prohibits taxpayers dollars from being used to fund abortions. Again, this seems like something that should already be in statute, but it’s not. I’ve always been a pro-life legislator, and will continue to be an advocate for the unborn.
As always, please call or email if you have any questions on my email updates or any other issue facing the legislature.
Have a great weekend,