Here in Minnesota we have a part time Legislature. With the exception of special sessions, the Legislature is constitutionally limited to meeting for a total of 120 days every two years. While that sounds pretty sweet it means that we deal with a lot of special sessions and, more annoyingly, have to hear about a bunch of political drama at the beginning of the year.
This year, as with most years, the biggest political drama involves how the government is planning to spend other people’s money. After the usual backroom deals and partisan showmanship the Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement on an overall budget. The budget was signed by Mark Dayton but he failed to sign the bill that would fund the Legislature itself:
Gov. Mark Dayton invited a high-stakes constitutional clash Tuesday by signing bills that will fund the executive branch while eliminating funding for the Legislature, leaving lawmakers with dwindling cash to continue operations.
The Senate budget is about $30 million and is carrying a reserve of about $3 million, Gazelka said.
The House budget is roughly twice that and has a reserve of about $7 million, Daudt said, meaning both chambers would run out of money in a matter of months — especially in the case of a protracted legal fight. Most of the money to fund the Legislature goes to pay lawmakers and the staff required to do their work.
The Legislature won’t be receiving other people’s money? That’s a shame. Whatever will us Minnesotans do without our lawmakers being paid to create new ways to oppress us?