Six state Representatives — five DFLers and one Republican — were excused from Tuesday’s special session that resolved the budget crisis and ended the state shutdown.
The outcome wasn’t affected: The GOP majority stuck together and had more than enough votes to pass the 12 bills that came up in the special session with or without the missing members.
Those MIA, but officially excused, were:
Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, a second lieutenant in the Minnesota National Guard, was at Fort Benning, Ga., for final infantry training.
Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, was in Alaska on a long-planned anniversary trip. She issued this statement:
“I regret having missed the Special Session. My 25th wedding anniversary trip to Alaska had been scheduled months in advance and planned for well after a budget agreement should have been made. I hadn’t expected the longest shutdown in our state’s history.
“The Special Session was also called on very short notice, beginning only 3 hours after it had been called. On such short notice, there was no possible way for me to get to St. Paul in time. Throughout, I have remained in contact with legislative leaders and the governor’s office, have reviewed the bills, and continue to communicate with my constituents.”
Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, was out of town, his office said today. (He called tonight to say he had been backpacking on remote Isle Royale, and didn’t even know there was a special session until Wednesday, when it was over. “I’d have had quite a few things to say, about how this was unfair borrowing from our schools so 7,000 millionaires don’t have to pay any more,” he said.)
Rep. Tom Rukavina DFL-Virginia, was out for knee surgery, House officials said.
Rep. Tom Tillberry DFL-Fridley, was in Germany on a trip related to a student-exchange program, reported Fridley Patch.
No information yet on the whereabouts of Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan, but he, like the other five, was officially excused, according to the House Journal.
In the Senate, there was only one empty desk for the special session: Sen. Linda Scheid, DFLer from Brooklyn Park, died of cancer in June. The Senate held a moment of silence in her honor before starting business Tuesday.