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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

First day of session

The first day of session brought fireworks but few surprises. Steve Sviggum was re-elected speaker, but it was a 67-64 vote, barely enough to win. Sviggum lost one vote from Republican Bruce Anderson in protest, and two Democrats refused to vote for Matt Entenza presumably because they (Al Juhnke and Mary Ellen Otremba) are pro-life while Entenza is pro-choice.

After the election of the speaker, there were fights over staffing and committee makeups. Since the Republicans have but a two-seat majority in the House, it would be fairest if committees had a one-vote margin in favor of the Republicans. Of course, this isn't how it is. As for staffing, the Republicans should have more staff because being in the majority means more work running committees. However, the Republicans have far more staff people than is necessary for this task, or is appropriate for the two-vote margin. After the 2002 elections when Democrats lost a lot of seats, many Democratic staff people were laid off. Now that the tables are turned, Republicans are refusing to lay off their staff people.

The Democratic objections over committees and staffing did not go anywhere, as the Republicans kept control. The House will be back in session on Thursday relatively early. It looks like floor sessions will be quite busy this year.


At 10:54 AM, January 05, 2005, Blogger goldieoldie56 said...

As I am new to this whole blog thing, I was excited to find sites like yours and www.pawlentyexposed.blogspot.com on here for me to read. I am so tired of all of the Rush Limbaugh stuff out there. It is nice to see DFLers take a stand and get out the truth. As a long time DFL activist, I am happy to see you working so hard!! Keep up the good work.

At 9:14 PM, January 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Willmar paper suggested that Al Juhnke's "pass" on voting in the Speaker election was due to his dissatisfaction with the number and geographical home of assistant minority caucus leaders. Previously, there had been 8 (4 rural and 4 metro) assistant leaders. Junhke had been an assistant leader from a rural area. This year, there are just three - one each from metro, suburban and rural. The rural assistant leader is from the Iron Range, and Juhnke is quoted as saying that western Minnesota does not have a seat at the table.

Anderson has said he would abstain because he thinks former Rep. Lindner got a bum deal from Sviggum.


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