By Allison Wolf, MCEA Legislative Director
As environmentalists, MCEA folks generally abhor waste. We don’t like to see paper, fuel, and human resources wasted. We reduce, re-use, and recycle. We compost. We avoid waste of precious resources.
Still, we are happy that much of the work of the 2018 Legislative Session will end up on the scrapheap. Governor Dayton’s veto of the 998-page Omnibus Bill meant the end of the line for nearly everything the Legislature touched between February 20 and May 20. What a waste of three months of hearings, discussions, floor sessions, and just plain work!
Since the Governor’s veto eliminated many troubling provisions, MCEA can live with the resulting waste. Among the items we are happy to see on the scrapheap of history:
It looks like the smallest number of new laws will result from this session, even though more bills were introduced than ever before. One reason for this is that the Legislature put almost all of the budget and policy work for the entire session into the giant 998-page bill.
The veto of this giant “garbage” bill should have been no surprise to legislative leaders, since it contained multiple provisions that the Governor vocally opposed. At one point, Governor Dayton sent legislative leaders an email with 125 attached messages from agency heads, detailing the many problems with the Omnibus Bill. Later, he sent the Conference Committee a list of 117 items he opposed. Moreover, he repeatedly asked legislators to separate policy issues into stand-alone bills rather than combining them with funding items.
We do regret the lost opportunities of this legislative session. We join other Minnesotans in wishing that the Legislature had put worthy bipartisan ideas in separate bills, rather than combining them with bills the Governor pledged to veto. Among the worthy ideas that deserve recycling in a future session are: