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Floundering, yet again, to the finish line
Rick Bussler, Publisher
Hot Pursuit, legislature, Minnesota, Owatonna, Steele County

The clock struck midnight, and wouldn’t you believe it, the business of state government didn’t get done yet again.

On Sunday, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned without getting its work done. Sound familiar? It has happened before and (I know this is a shocker, eye roll) things are business as usual without lawmakers being able to agree on key bills.

Last week DFL Gov. Tim Walz made it clear he did not want to call a special session if lawmakers couldn’t get their work done by the weekend deadline. I’m only speculating, but I’m certain Republicans and Democrats sabotaged each other by not agreeing on laws in an effort to make the other look negatively to the public. 

The budget is in good shape as the Legislature passed a two-year budget last year, once again after a special session. Government is not going to shut down any time soon. Whew, what a relief.

But without the important decisions needed to be made this year, Minnesota residents won’t get the big tax cuts that lawmakers danced around earlier in the weekend teasing everyone that they had made substantial progress on what to do with the record surplus.

Added to the list of failed work are fighting crime, additional school funding, bonding bill and money for social programs. And it appears the state will walk away from millions of federal transportation dollars that require state matching funds.

Lawmakers convened on Jan. 31. According to my calculations, that’s just shy of four months to get work done.

On top of that let’s not forget about all the full-time legislative assistants that work year round to support our elected officials.

It’s downright inexcusable what Minnesota lawmakers failed to do yet again. Of course, it’s election season so the game playing begins and fingers point back and forth with no one having the guts to do what they’re supposed to—work on behalf of the people in a timely manner.

It’s time our divided government gets its act together and does business the way the rest of society functions—by meeting deadlines and getting the work done in a specified amount of time.

I know one thing. If I operated my business like Minnesota senators and representatives operate the people’s business, I would be out of business in no time. Imagine if I just ignored my weekly deadlines and put out a newspaper when I felt like it. I don’t think you, my loyal readers, would take too kindly to functioning in that manner.

I also know another thing. Count yourselves thankful that the government and the U.S. Postal Service are not in control of putting out your weekly newspaper. If they were, I can guarantee you there would be no newspaper.

In the coming weeks, politicians will be showing up at your door steps and propaganda will appear in your mailboxes soliciting votes for this fall’s election.

Perhaps it’s time they are reminded to go in hot pursuit of taking care of business in the time allotted or else look for other work.

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