It's time for legislators to get their job done

Here is a quick warning to all members of the 2016 Minnesota Legislature: The time for governing is here - now, not waiting until after the Nov. 8 election and waiting for the 2017 legislative session.

Here is a quick warning to all members of the 2016 Minnesota Legislature: The time for governing is here - now, not waiting until after the Nov. 8 election and waiting for the 2017 legislative session.

The legislators could not even get through the first afternoon after the start of the session Tuesday before squabbling like a bunch schoolyard children.

Apparently there were not enough corners available in the Capitol for multiple timeouts.

The Legislature has failed in its first test of the year - failing to agree on how to take up the proposed extension of Minnesota steel worker unemployments benefits.

The Republican-majority House failed to achieve a super-majority needed to suspend the rules in order to consider consider the steelworkers unemployment benefit without going through its committee process. The House GOP wanted to tie the extension benefit to a reduction in the unemployment tax paid by businesses.


In the meantime, the DFL-majority Senate was debating its own rules about whether enough notice was given for an afternoon finance committee meeting to consider the same unemployment extension issue. The DFL leadership chose to send the proposed extension through its committee process, while GOP leaders complained about not enough notice for the committee meeting.

Meantime, steelworkers and their families continue to suffer back on the Iron Range.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development said Tuesday that about 2,300 workers on the Iron Range have exhausted their unemployment benefits. The Legislature is considering extending those unemployment benefits another 26 weeks.

DEED said Tuesday that 2,000 taconite mine workers have been laid off temporarily and permanently by mining companies. Another 1,800 workers in related businesses to the mining industry are also jobless.

The legislative session will be short this week, with the adjournment required by law by May 24.

Gov. Mark Dayton delivered his State of the State address Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota. He outlined his proposals for the top priorities, such as education, water and transportation.

We can expect the standard political responses to his agenda.

The 2015 session ended with two major bills - transportation and tax reform - stuck in gridlock.


The governor is not running for re-election and his terms runs through January, 2019. However, very House and Senate member will be on the ballot on Nov. 8, unless they are not seeking a new term.

If the Senate's DFL and House GOP leadership in campaign mode for the remainder of the session, it very well will be a cranky and failed session. Then legislators should expect to see an angry electorate this summer and into the fall..

And in this presidential election year, the voters are not very tolerant. In fact, many are just down right mad at the political gridlock in St. Paul and in Washington, D.C.

Voters want results, not political delays.

There are many needs and budget decisions that need to be addressed for the betterment of Minnesota as a whole. We are all residents of this fine state.

Minnesota need bridges that stay up, education systems that train our youth and young adults, taxes that do not hinder our citizens and businesses, a broadband investment across the state, and necessary programs and laws to keep and improve our water quality, just to name a few.

In this abbreviated legislative calendar in a short election-year cycle, the top priority for the House and Senate leadership of both parties should be one simple word - govern. Then use a little compromise to get your jobs done.

If you do not, do not be surprised by voter reaction come November.



This editorial was originally published in the West Central Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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