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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Separation of powers

Lori Sturdevant has an editorial today that touches on a subject that I have noticed too: the fact that House Republican leadership and the governor are pretty much interchangeable these days. The priorities of the governor automatically become the priorities of Sviggum. This has happened to an extent that I did not believe was possible. Instead of three branches of government, we have two and a half.

Why is this? Why isn't the House more independent? One theory is that Sviggum was so shocked at the last election that he thinks the safest thing to do is to hitch his majority to the fate of the governor. It's certainly not as if Majority Leader Paulsen has any new ideas or independent thought. However, the needs of the governor are very different from the needs of individuals who represent 1/134th of the whole state. Some Republicans are getting ready to rebel: on Thursday, much time was spent debating an effort by one Republican, Mark Olson, to have the House act independently from the governor when it comes to the budget. It failed, but it's clear that many members are not happy about being shut out of the legislative process.

Will this hold out? Sviggum and Pawlenty have been the only constants in the need for recent special sessions, so it's probably only a matter of time before the public figures it out.


At 8:29 AM, May 31, 2005, Anonymous employee 19028 said...

I totally agree, but it's a little misleading to claim that the actions of Mark Olson are indicative of GOP members deciding to rebel... as Olson is akin to the GOP's crazy relative who lives in the attic. He's always introducing legislation and amendments that conflict with the ideology of both DFL'ers and members of his own party.

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