Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Flood Relief on its Way 

Flood-stricken southeastern Minnesota soon will be receiving $165,000,000 in state aid headlines the Pioneer Press.

Under Section 12 of the Minnesota State Constitution, the governor can add a special session for extraordinary circumstances. Governor Pawlenty did just that, convening the special session to address the needs of this community and help them start rebuilding. But he also insisted on a commitment in advance from the DFL legislative leadership that flood relief was the only topic to be considered. He was smart to put this caveat in place because without such a commitment, the legislators could have run wild with all their pet Christmas Tree projects. As King stated yesterday, there were political moves to do just this. The governor kept his promise - flood relief only. Our governor held firm on his limited agenda and the DFL legislators gave up on all their other tax-increase dreams.

Legislative session rules are also covered in the state constitution. The legislature meets for no more than 120 days and must end on the first Monday after the third Saturday in May. It was designed as a citizen legislature, one where legislators had other jobs to which they returned when the legislative session was done. The plus of this structure is that legislators get their income from their careers, not the taxpayers.