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MN GOP, stifled by new rules, offers 159 amendments

LeftMN
Kurt Daudt
MinnPost photo by James Nord
House Minority Leader offered 124 amendments on Monday morning.

Last week, there was a nine hour floor debate in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Obviously, there’s a lot to talk about. Were they discussing the health exchange bill that needs to be completed by the end of March? A bonding bill to put Minnesotans back to work? The Governor’s tax plan?

No, they were debating the rules about debating. Specifically, whether amendments offered from the floor need to be filed 24 hours in advance of the debate. The plaintive cry of the oppressed Republican minority was that this would end democracy as we know it.

“This is a mechanism to centralize and consolidate power,” said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington.

“You are preventing a true vetting of important legislation,” said Rep. Linda Runbeck, R-Circle Pines. “Why come to the floor? Because there’s nothing real going on.”

Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said the change would “stifle members.” “…restricting and silencing members is not openness.”

But after nine hours of this, the rules changes passed 69-59. And today, on the first four bills subject to the new rules, we learned the extent to which these new rules would “stifle,” “silence,” and “restrict” Republican amendments during floor debates.

Monday morning, House Republicans pre-filed 159 amendments on four noncontroversial bills.

This stunt, while emotionally satisfying for Republican members, demonstrates yet again their failure to understand how much voters disdain stupid political tricks. Yes, what Minnesota voters really want is for the minority to grind noncontroversial legislation to a halt in their petulance. Not only that, but it belies their statements about how this rule change would stifle debate.

This rules fight was already a massive messaging fail for Republicans. Remember the demands to “READ THE BILL!” and Republican pledges to post bills online for 72 hours before they could be voted on? Well, in this case, last minute amendments with no public notice whatsoever are apparently the heart of democracy. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Today’s raft of amendments is just yet another flip-flop on process rules for Republicans.

But this is just an attempt to throw a spanner in the works and obstruct everything. Is this really the Republican strategy for taking back the House in 2016? If so, good luck.

This post was written by Aaron Klemz and originally published on LeftMN. Follow Aaron on Twitter: @AaronKlemz.

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Comments (6)

A Real Republican Leader Is needed

It is utterly baffling how the Republicans are trying to regain valuable political ground with the voters. Just as they errantly thought they were going to win the last election they are heading down the path to take the possibility of a win in the next election off the table. The Republicans remain leaderless. They had a chance before the last election to install a new majority leader. Majority Leader, Senator Senjem, could have led the party in a new direction, but didn't. Then there was an election where they lost ground nationwide. This should have been a clue to the Republicans they are on the wrong path. It appears they want to be the "Stupid Party", intent on playing political games rather than working constructively on the problems of the state. This is not strictly a Minnesota problem but a national Republican Party problem. Pretty soon the Republicans will not only be known as the "Stupid Party" but "Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest".

Could someone please articulate

the reasoning behind Republican objection to the 24 hour rule? I know they have been against it but I am not sure why.

It is a Republican Party goal - OBSTRUCTIONISM

It slows the party of extreme obstructionism down and they don't like it. They had a chance to lead before the last election and chose not to. Not having any leadership positions in the legislature leaves them with nothing to do. So obstructionism is there only game because they don't know how to "COMPROMISE".

What did you expect?

If you change the rules, the game changes and the players alter their strategies. The DFL, now in charge because the Repubs did not play out the last election very well to put lightly, is now doing the usual by making things 'better' for them. Why wouldn't they? Each party does it like the article says. But the DFL should know better than to think the Repubs will just lay down without expressing their voice, which is what they were elected to do. The root of this issue is what the DFL did by passing this rile so don't whine about the other side. The DFL, as usual, make rules and legislation knee-jerk and not look a the long-term ramifications. Now because of their new rule, the time they spend on legislating will take longer. Instead of taking care of amendments at the time while discussing laws they want to do, you have to go through a flurry of potential changes as well. The things this article talked about never slowed the passage of laws nor the discussion of potentially well thought amendments brought by the DFL when the Repubs were in charge. This DFL rule does. They should think before passing a rule for once.

Incredible.

Well, those of us who've been watching this stuff for years have seen the spectacle of republican obstruction on the floor many many many times. The need for this rule is obvious. Not the democrats never do it, but republicans have been tying up the floor with one pointless amendment after another for on uncontroversial bills for years. I remember watching Michelle Bachmann tie up the floor for 45 minutes with an amendment to require that all children in MN be taught that President Lincoln believed in freedom. This stunt just shows you ridiculous it can get even when you set limits.

Incredible. Thanks for covering this.

Well, those of us who've been watching this stuff for years have seen the spectacle of republican obstruction on the floor many many many times. The need for this rule is obvious. Not the democrats never do it, but republicans have been tying up the floor with one pointless amendment after another for on uncontroversial bills for years. I remember watching Michelle Bachmann tie up the floor for 45 minutes with an amendment to require that all children in MN be taught that President Lincoln believed in freedom. This stunt just shows you ridiculous it can get even when you set limits.