7/8/2020 3:37:00 PM How the Special Session really happened
With some confusion as to what happened in Special Session, I thought it would be good to share with you some of the events which led to the Senate adjourning on Saturday morning, June 20. A number of days prior to that, the Minnesota Senate passed the bill which distributed the Federal Cares money to local government under a formula that had been negotiated with the Minnesota House. On Wednesday of last week, the house passed it after adding onto it the Governor's Supplemental Budget of approximately $130 million. Not a single hearing This budget never had a single hearing. The leadership in the house and the Governor's office had the audacity to say that we should pass it because it was the same bill as everything we had passed was in there. Never mind that it now cost $130 million. Folks, I recognize that the governor thinks we are nothing but rocks and cows out here, but even the rocks and cows are too smart to buy that argument. Back in session The Senate came back into session on Friday, June 19. Negotiations continued and at 1 a.m. on Saturday, a deal was reached. The administration claimed that $58 million had been saved from the current budget due to hiring freezes and other cost cutting measurements and that there were some items which needed to have additional expenditures. The Senate agreed that there were items needing attention and so it was agreed that both bodies would approve the expenditures and the House would provide a clean bill for the Cares money. At that point, the agreement went to the wordsmiths to put it in bill form. A couple of hours later, my leadership asked to see it and nothing was done. Deal torpedoed In the time that had elapsed, the governor torpedoed the deal. I can say that confidently because DFL legislators told my leadership that the governor put pressure on them to not agree. We then adjourned at approximately 6 a.m. The governor criticized us for walking away, but how can you negotiate with people you can't trust? It is obvious that the governor has brought the Nancy Pelosi style of politics home to Minnesota. While I am pleased that Gov. Walz has relented under the pressure of local government to release the monies under the formula approved by the Senate, there is no good reason why this didn't happen over a week earlier. The governor's powers On Friday, June 12, I voted to end the governor's peacetime emergency powers. I will do so again the next opportunity I have. As we approach the celebration of this country's independence on July 4, it is clear that the founders of this nation knew what they were doing in separating powers between the administrative, legislative and judicial branches of government. The old saying goes, "Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely." Unfortunately, the administration in St. Paul is proving that more and more. Bill Weber of Luverne is a Minnesota senator representing District 22.