Arrested development: DFL needs Sen. Mitchell to finish agenda

Things are happening fast at the Minnesota legislature now that we’re down to the final 17 days. According to the Minnesota Constitution, the legislature must adjourn on the first Monday after the third Saturday in May. Even more important than calendar days are what’s known as legislative days. Every time either the House or Senate meets in session, they use up a legislative day. The legislature is allotted 120 legislative days for the two-year biennium. As we head into the last two full weeks of session, there are only nine legislative days left in the biennium, meaning House and Senate leaders are cutting it a little close.

Nine session days spread over two full weeks is enough time to finish the business of the legislature, but it also gives the minority parties in the House and Senate incentive to slow down the process with amendments and debate. For example, the Senate was in session until 4:00 am Saturday morning. Every bill that comes to the floor is an opportunity for delay, and every delay means fewer bills will actually pass through the House and Senate and be signed into law. So the next time you see a long debate in the House or Senate, understand that each side has a strategy.

Sen. Mitchell hanging in there, voting on the Senate floor

The situation with Sen. Nicole Mitchell’s arrest for felony burglary could also delay action on the Senate side. Mitchell returned to the Senate last week and Republicans immediately challenged her ability to cast votes while we wait for the judicial process to play out in Becker County and the ethics process to play out in St. Paul. After a lengthy debate, the Senate voted 34-33 to allow Mitchell to keep voting, with Mitchell casting the deciding vote. Democrats rallying around Mitchell and allowing her to vote on her own fate (an obvious conflict of interest) signals they plan to weather the storm of her arrest until the end of session. The progressive agenda is too important for it to be derailed by a felony burglary arrest. The ends justify the means.

Meanwhile, the Senate Ethics Committee meets Tuesday to take up the complaint against her for violating Senate Rules, specifically:

56.1 Members shall adhere to the highest standard of ethical conduct as embodied in the Minnesota Constitution, state law, and these rules.

56.2 A member shall not publish or distribute written material if the member knows or has reason to know that the material includes any statement that is false or clearly misleading…

56.3 Improper conduct includes conduct that violates a rule or administrative policy of the Senate, that violates accepted norms of Senate behavior, that betrays the public trust, or that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor or disrepute.

The Ethics Committee will also take up a complaint against Sen. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) that was filed with the committee on April 19, 2023, over one year ago. This is a ham-fisted way of trying to “even up” the ethics process with a complaint for both parties. The Ethics Committee met on May 18, 2023, and voted to defer action on the Gruenhagen complaint to a later date, to be determined by the chair. They sat on it until the Mitchell complaint was filed, and now will investigate both. Justice delayed? I think so. By the way, the complaint against Sen. Gruenhagen is frivolous.

Watch for the Ethics Committee to begin an investigation and then wait for the clock to run out on session ending the whole process until next January. Sen. Mitchell will likely stick around and vote for the DFL agenda through the end of session before resigning sometime this summer. That will give Gov. Walz the flexibility under the law to call a special election that coincides with the November general election, making it much easier for Democrats to keep the seat, and their 34-33 majority.

Walz delivers a @*%!#& speech in Washington, DC

Remember when Chicago native Hillary Clinton found a southern accent every time she appeared in front of audiences in the South? Gov. Tim Walz did his own version of speech-pandering last week in remarks delivered to union construction workers in Washington, DC. Someone must have told Walz that union guys swear a lot, so work in some swear words. In a short, 11-minute speech, Walz uttered the following phrases:

  • That is a damn lie
  • Certainly have no damn money
  • Burn the hell out of that political capital
  • We had a hell of a partner in Joe Biden
  • Come up with the dumbest damn names
  • Fix the damn roads!
  • Buy the biggest damn sign we could
  • It’s like a damn Sasquatch
  • Every damn day
  • Too damn bad, politics is into you
  • I’ll give you a free God damn red hat if that’s what it takes
  • Hell no, you’re showing up for that
  • Hell, we did something in Minnesota
  • For Christ’s sake, we can at least feed our children
  • No more of this crap, were unionizing
  • For Christ’s sake, they’ve been doing that since the beginning of time
  • You can be damn sure

Politicians say the darnedest things!

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