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Why the rush?

April 3, 2012
Marshall Independent

Many state legislators seem to be anticipating an early adjournment this session - one even pitched the idea of a dismissal prior to the Easter/Passover break a couple weeks ago.

That was stretching it, for sure, but even the thought of getting out anytime in April seems unrealistic.

Our question: What's their hurry?

Our answer: It's an election year.

Here's our take:

There's not a single legislator in the Capitol today that isn't at least a bit concerned about their constituents harboring ill feelings because of last summer's three-week shutdown and how that could affect how they vote in November. They would like to think voters have short memories, and even though that theory might have some validity, we doubt voters have forgotten. It might not be fresh in their memory banks, but they remember.

With that said, legislators, we believe, are trying to heal not-so-old wounds by adjourning early, essentially telling the voters: "See, we did our job and even got out early this year."

Legislators also know they have plenty of campaigning to do this summer, and would certainly welcome the extra time to hit those new areas in their districts created by redistricting.

We can't blame them if that's their strategy, we just don't think it's in the best interest of the state for them to put the pedal down. If they can get their work done and come to agreement in a timely fashion, great, but when was the last time things went so smoothly at the Capitol?

The Legislature is required by the state's Constitution to adjourn by May 21, so it's not as if it's under the gun. And with some major issues still outstanding, it might be best for legislators to be less concerned about getting out in April and more concerned about tackling those major issues such as the Vikings' stadium saga and a bonding bill that even the House and Senate - both controlled by Republicans - can't agree on (Capitol renovation is one of those areas; the House wants to put $221 million toward the Capitol, while the Senate devoted just $25 million in its proposal. Quite a gap indeed.

No one is rooting for the Legislature to go up to the last minute, and we don't want to see another special session, but we don't see anything wrong with an early-May adjournment. We're not telling our elected officials to take their time and relax; all we want is for them to not rush the process.

As we found out last year, compromise sometimes takes time.



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