Minnesota Legislature Exhibit A in report on dysfunctional divided governments

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

Minnesota’s legislature is Exhibit A in Governing magazine’s look at dysfunctional divided governments. The report by Alan Greenblatt opens, “Minnesota legislators haven’t just run out of time, they’ve run out of space, too. For the first time since the 1800s, lawmakers will be meeting outside of the capitol building, which is under renovations. They have gone into overtime because Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed their budget package. … Just having a budget for the governor to sign or veto, however, puts Minnesota ahead of some other states. There are eight states where control of the legislature is divided between the two parties. In most cases, they haven’t been able to get much done, failing even to send the governor a budget at all.”

Speaking of dysfunctional governments, the Pioneer Press’ Bob Shaw has the latest from Lake Elmo: “An exodus is underway at Lake Elmo City Hall — with the third resignation since a new city council took over in January. … Assistant City Administrator Adam Bell is resigning in protest, citing a ‘hostile environment’ created by the city council.

Aw, carp. “Five bighead carp were captured in the St. Croix River in the past week, just south of Stillwater and the furthest upstream the invasive fish have been detected in the St. Croix. Until now only four bighead carp have been caught in the river since 1996,” reports Josephine Marcotty in the Star Tribune. “The fish were first caught this week by anglers, who notified wildlife officials at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who then were able to catch more.”

Adrian Peterson showed up to practice. Here’s the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson: “Adrian Peterson has reversed field and is speeding toward a return to the Minnesota Vikings, attending Tuesday’s offseason training activies at Winter Park, his first practice with the team since September. … Peterson missed last week’s first session of organized activities because he said he was displeased with his contract, which has three years and $44.25 million left on it with none of it guaranteed.”

Kind of surprising to see a U.S. state ahead of a Scandinavian country on gender pay equity. According to the AP (in the Rochester Post-Bulletin): “Norway has agreed to pay a former employee at its Minneapolis consulate nearly $2 million, settling a long-running dispute over gender pay equity. … The $1.9 million payout clocks in just below what a judge had ordered the Scandinavian country to pay for violating Minnesota law by paying Ellen Ewald $30,000 less than a male counterpart. The Norwegian government lost that lawsuit in December and was eventually ordered to pay $2.1 million to cover Ewald’s lost wages and attorney fees.”

At this point, they should just tell us which chemicals aren’t found in Minnesota’s lakes and streams. KARE reports: “Minnesota’s lakes and streams are being polluted by personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and compounds that disrupt the endocrine process, which leads to changes in animal hormones and the reproductive process. … Even in remote areas of the state, antibiotics, nicotine breakdown products, antidepressants, and medications to regulate diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure, were detected in surface water. The insect repellent DEET was detected in 91% of the lakes studied. These results are consistent with previous studies of Minnesota lakes and rivers.”

In other news…

Those mystery flights from last week? Yeah, it actually was government surveillance. [AP via Star Tribune]

Ding, ding. Minneapolis made its debut on the Copenhagen­ize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world at No. 18. We’re the only American city in the top 20. [Wired]

But, uh, somehow didn’t make the top 10 in this ranking of cities according to percentage of craft beer sold. Adding insult to injury, Portland tops the list. [Washington Beer Blog]

Just put the phone down. “Man who killed SW Minnesota bicyclist: ‘Don’t do what I did’” [MPR]

Bloomington to collectivize collection? “Citizens’ revolt brewing in Bloomington over garbage collection” [Star Tribune]

Franken sees trade possibilities after trip to Cuba; didn’t care much for rum and cigars. [St. Cloud Times]

This is what FREEDOM looks like:

Trying to imagine what this would even be:

Internet Cat Video Festival tickets available meow. [Walker Art Center]

Get outside and look at some flowers. [Brainerd Dispatch] 

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 06/02/2015 - 01:39 pm.

    Divided government…..

    does not equate to dysfunctional government. It equates to checked power no matter who is in office. We saw what happened the last time the DFL had both the house and senate. Taxes went wild.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 06/02/2015 - 10:39 pm.


      Our economy boomed, The jobless rate went down, our economic standing compared to our neighbors went up, and so on.

      Sounds to me like we could use a little bit more government running wild.

      Unless you consider ramming laws through The house with absolutely no review by the opposing party. That kind of sounds like fascism, don’t you think?

      Then it is the Republican Party we are describing.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/02/2015 - 03:38 pm.

    Passing more new laws

    that give more power to government and less to the people, would be the Founders’ definition of a dysfunctional government.

    • Submitted by Wesley Volkenant on 06/02/2015 - 05:00 pm.

      Not All Founders Thought Alike…

      And Why do those on the Right constantly desire to frame things under WWTFD – What Would the Founders Do? It’s the 21st Century, not 1787 anymore. It’s not 1832, 1865, 1896, 1932, 1960 or even 1980 anymore.

      Alexander Hamilton, James Madison. Two different visions. Who says we have to be living what either one envisioned? We’re probably closer to Hamilton’s vision of strong central authority. Both men moved us away from a group of states independent of each other to a nation of united states.

      But we’re also a product of Andrew Jackson’s America, of Abraham Lincoln’s, of William McKinley’s, of Franklin Roosevelt’s, of John F. Kennedy’s and of Ronald Reagan’s America. And in 2015, we should be a reflection of Barack Obama’s America, after the nation twice voted his vision to lead them by significant majorities.

      Strong government, a powerful government – that is what Americans have consistently voted for.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/02/2015 - 06:16 pm.

      Actually, you have no idea what the Founders would think.

      The reality of today’s world bears little resemblance to the simple agrarian society that existed when they were alive. Republicans love to wax poetic about that era, but much to their chagrin, I doubt the Founders would dismiss the challenges of today in order to cling to the past

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 06/02/2015 - 10:35 pm.


      You would hate a number of the laws that the Republican House passed before the end of the session. As an example, is it freedom loving when the state gives corporations superprecedence over individual rights, like the bill preventing individuals from ever suing a polluter if the polluter just reports it?

      Or how about A bill exempting mining companies from ever being regulated in their use of local water sources for mining projects in the iron Range?

      Or whatabout the proposed law that would give private corporations sovereign status over the rights of sovereign nations within our country?

      Or how about passing bills with absolutely no review by the opposing party?

      All in all, the Republican House acted in the dictatorial fashion trampling over the rights of sovereign citizens.so what would the founders think of that?

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 06/02/2015 - 05:12 pm.


    are the Scandinavian countries always cited as the utopian paradises by the left in this area?

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/02/2015 - 07:18 pm.

      Le’s see….

      you mean besides the economic development, productivity, the higher than average per capita income (Norway), the highest nominal means income,. the high standard of education, the nearly 100% literacy rate, the 35-40% that obtain degrees every year, the 90% of primary school teachers with Masters degrees which result in higher student proficiency in math, science and reading?

      Maybe it’s the quality of life, with higher life expectancy, half the obesity and diabetes rates that plague the US. Perhaps it’s the low crime rate…527,000 crimes in 2010 with .017 murder victims (out of a 1,000 people) compared with the US and its 11.9 million crimes with .042 homicides. Out of 100K citizens there are only 68 serving time in prison, while in the US the number is 738. I haven’t even hit on the ecological factors, but I know that really isn’t high on your list anyway.
      Hope that helps.

  4. Submitted by Mark Iezek on 06/03/2015 - 05:44 am.

    Is it divided government that is the problem?

    In Kansas, the legislature is struggling to come up with a budget to fix a budget deficit despite having a Republican supermajority in both houses and a Republican governor. They are 13 days past the normal end of session date, which they can extend themselves with a supermajority vote. The Senate cannot reach consensus despite Republicans holding 32 of 40 seats. Presented with a plan by the Governor that would have resulted in a small tax increase as part of budget balancing, they instead voted to cut taxes. The Senate is pushing for additional education cuts, while the House is pushing back.

    The deadline to avert a government shutdown is midnight Sunday. This is not divided government. It is full Republican control and they struggle to pass a budget.

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