Maybe GOP and DFL legislators can agree on ‘Mom’s Amendment’

“This has been a do-nothing session,” says Sen. Tom Bakk. “Not one job has been created. Nothing has been accomplished.”

Amid all the often-angry talk surrounding such issues as taxes, gaming, the stadium, education funding, Voter ID and bonding, Sen. Tom Bakk this morning introduced a bill that will really matter to most Minnesotans.

The Senate minority leader is proposing to move up this year’s fishing opener one weekend, from Mother’s Day weekend, to May 5 and 6.

He’s calling this bill “Mom’s Amendment,” because it takes away the motherhood-fishing conflict that arrives when the two special weekends coincide.

“If it’s going to be stopped, it’s going to be the Republicans who do it,” said Bakk, a twinkle in his eye.

In Minnesota, this is called brilliant politics. Who can be against either moms or walleyes?

Bakk said he’s making the proposal for a number of reasons.  The mild weather created a horrible winter for North Country resort owners.

The combination of little snow and bad ice meant huge reductions in winter tourism. The mild winter also means ice is out on most lakes across the state, meaning anglers will be able to get their boats on to lakes that often would still have an ice covering in late April and early May. Additionally, the warm weather created an early walleye spawn on most lakes.

There is one other reason that Bakk is coming forward with this idea.

“This has been a do-nothing session,” said Bakk. “Not one job has been created. Nothing has been accomplished.”

Bakk, of course, blames Republicans for that.

But this bill gives something from this session to Minnesotans, the Senate minority leader said.

Rep. David Dille, DFL-Crane Lake, was expected to push forward the early-opener in the House.

Although the DNR commissioner has not yet weighed in on the idea, it’s hard to imagine there’ll be any opposition.

But “Mom’s Amendment” is about the only thing where anybody can find agreement at the Capitol, where thoughts of ending the session by the middle of next week are rapidly fading away.

Even in a session where nothing really has to be done, the workload seems far too heavy to be completed quickly.

That doesn’t mean that Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem isn’t still holding on to hopes that the session can end before next week’s Passover-Easter break.

“We’re still looking at the Fifth,” said Senjem of an April 5 end. “We can still do it.”

But he was quick to add that he’s now looking at April 16 as a secondary “landing date.”

The Senate was to spend today debating the Republicans’ tax bill, which members of the GOP are calling a “jobs bill.”

The bill, which has little chance of surviving a veto by Gov. Mark Dayton, would begin the process of phasing out business property taxes in Minnesota. Republicans in the Senate claim that their bill would create jobs, because it would put both cash — and stability — in the hands of businesses. Those businesses then would expand and create more jobs.

Not surprisingly, Bakk scoffs at the notion.

“It’s absolutely silly to call this tax bill a jobs bill,” Bakk said. “It’s a give-away to corporate multinationals.”

Additionally, Bakk said, the bill would increase the deficit by $192 million — and the governor and next year’s Legislature already are looking at a $1.1 billion deficit.

“They [Republicans] must plan that they won’t be in charge next year,” Bakk said.

Senate Tax Committee Chair Julianne Ortman, however, said Senate Republicans “are proud” of the tax bill and that testimony of business owners at Senate committees indicates it would spur economic growth.

And so on it goes.

There are huge gaps between the House and Senate on the bonding bill. There’s a move to get racinos back into the mix. There are disputes over how the school funding shifts should be repaid.

And, always, in the background, there is the Vikings’ stadium, which is never really dead but doesn’t seem to be alive, either.

With so much to fight over – and some of the fights involving Republicans in the House and Senate – “Mom’s Amendment” looks like a winner.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/30/2012 - 03:14 pm.

    Mom’s Amendment

    I’m not the least bit interested in fishing, but “Mom’s Amendment” seems sensible enough to me.

    As for that stadium noise in the background, perhaps some stadium backers (and detractors) will find this piece interesting.

    Planetizen has remained among my favorite websites for several years now, even though I’m no longer a planning commission.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/30/2012 - 05:21 pm.

    Have we heard this somewhere before?

    So the foundation of the latest Republican giveaway to those who least need it is that “…testimony of business owners at Senate committees indicates it would spur economic growth” ??

    So those altruistic job creators are at it again, testifying on how wonderful it will be for everyone else if only they could be allowed to pay less than their fair share of taxes..

    Give me $200 million. I’ll create some jobs with it. Yah, sure.

  3. Submitted by Cyndi Cunningham on 03/31/2012 - 07:14 am.

    “mom’s amendement”

    Sounds like Minnesota. However, the only “mom’s amendment” I want is the one on the “dad’s rights” bill being pushed through the house and senate. The authors and supports publicly state that “shared and equal parenting” time is for dad’s. Too make law based on this one special interest group stands to cause direct harm to children and responsible parents. The law is based on assuming that all parents are “fit” and there is no protection for the children (or responsible parent) when one (or more) parents are “unfit”. The level to be reached to change 50/50 TIME is the same as removal of parental rights and if not proven true the person challenging stands to incur fines or jail. Not much motivation to do what children need. Current law is 25/25 gender neutral.

  4. Submitted by Michael S. Smith on 03/31/2012 - 09:19 am.

    Moms amendment

    My question is why is it need so what if Mothers day and Opening day of fishing season falls on the same day why is there a need to change it.

  5. Submitted by Francis Ferrell on 03/31/2012 - 03:14 pm.

    “MOM’s” Amendment?

    Enough is enough!!! The Legislature has really gone amok with another constitutional amendment proposal! Here are some thoughts to ponder…….

    1) As an an avid MN outdoors family man whose family enjoys fishing and Minnesota’s outdoors opportunity, I cannot, along with my family, fathom why the Legislature is in infinite political ignorance just can’t enact a resolution making the Fishing Opener fall on dates not interfering with Mothers’ Day? Do we need an amendment changing the state Constitution for this?

    2) Why is this “Moms'” Amendment even considered a “major” issue when the state’s budget is not balanced; the stadium/venue proposal is still being debated; state bonding bills need to be passed; and, the state needs to be recovering from the Great Recession with state economic stimulus legislation? Do we need “another” state constitutional amendment proposal on the ballot for a longstanding classic/typical Minnesota Fishing Opener issue?

    3) Why is the Legislature even worried about this fishing opener MN folklore conflict debate, which Mother’s Day vs fishing opener has posed for decades, even front page news when state government isn’t working properly to serve the needs of its constituencies? Where is that MN can-do spirit, political compromise attitude, and stalwart Minnesota couragiousness when adversities face or threaten the state’s populace? Why can’t this run-a-muck Legislature legislate like it was elected to do? Do we need another constitutional amendment, on the ballot, to weaken the already MN legislative process?

    4) Why then, must the MN Legislature keep usurping its Constitutional stated powers to drafting amendments, political ignorance, and nefarious orneriness? Do we need another ballot amendment issue to tell us, the electorate, that the MN Legislature needs an “evolution” toward 21st century and modern Minnesota progressive thinking?

    Come On! Folks! Let’s get with getting Minnesota out of the economic and political doldrums. Is that too much to ask? Or, is moving the Fishing Opener so as to be ‘politically correct” with Mother’s Day more important? Besides, where were would Fishing Opener be without the perennial Minnesota; fishing opener vs Mother’s Day; debate? Isn’t ironic the cowardly legislative leadership seems overburdened and overtaxed(?)/overstressed that they can’t even draft/enact legislation, in session, to settle this minor old problem?

    Well, you get who you vote for. Unfortunately the next election is months away! What transpires next this session is anyone’s guess. Maybe, they will adjourn before Easter and end their legislative miseries? Let’s hope they stay in session long enough to get things done. [A little wishful, hopeful thinking is better than nothing!]

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