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October 5, 2005

Same old, same old

• So, the headlines today and yesterday read "Pawlenty's special-session offer drew no takers", "Agreement on agenda unlikely", and "Special session menu fails." One troubling thing I have read in these articles is this set of quotes from Geoff Michel:

Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, author of the Gophers stadium bill, said he’s “encouraged that the governor is going to meet with legislative leaders.”

“These are difficult issues, and they should be decided face to face, not through the mail,” he said.

Asked what should be done about the Gophers stadium proposal, Michel said he would encourage people to consider holding a one-day University session with no legislator pay.

“One day. No pay. Gophers only,” Michel said.

I think it is a given that the only reason a special session is still being considered is because of the financial realities of the Gophers stadium plan. Two of their big donations expire before the beginning of the next regular session, so there is an urgency to get this plan approved.

The troubling thing about Michel's statements is that I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is the kind of discussions T-Paw and the other legislative leaders are having. What is the only bill they can count on passing in a timely fashion? The Gophers bill, of course. What is the only bill that is keeping the hopes for a special session alive? The Gophers bill. What is the only bill they can all agree on? The Gophers bill.

As I said before, T-Paw wants to call a special session. I am especially convinced of this given that yesterday he still wanted to talk about the possibilities with legislative leaders even after they made him and his "menu" look stupid. However, the agenda is narrowing.

I pray that the session will deal with the Gophers and the Twins, but realistically the only bill that meets Pawlenty's criteria for a quick and painless session is the Gophers bill.

Here is hoping that Sviggum and Johnson can convince T-Paw to take up the Twins bill. We shall see...

• In addition, I have a few words concerning my claims that "the votes are there" to pass a Twins stadium bill. Check out this snippet from a MN Legislature document describing special sessions:

During special sessions, the House and the Senate often pass bills shortly after they are introduced. This is accomplished by declaring an “urgency” and suspending both the constitutional requirement that each bill be considered on three different days in each house and the requirement of legislative rules that each bill be referred to a committee when it is introduced. The two-thirds vote required in each house to expedite passage in this way usually is forthcoming, because legislators generally wish to curb the length of the session.

People, 2/3 majority in the House is 88 or 89 votes. While it is possible, it is highly unlikely that there are 88 yes votes for the Twins stadium bill. Again, I count 66 yes and 21 unknown. Even if all 21 unknowns came out in favor of the bill, that would only be 87.

Am I missing something here? Will 2/3 majority be necessary, or is there some other legislative procedure I don't know about? Any anti-stadium people out there know for sure? David Wintheiser?

If 2/3 majority is necessary ... well, that would suck. I don't know how else to put it.

• Finally, I just wanted to say that I love the Johnny Cash song "The Man Comes Around." It is approaching "Songs for a Desert Island" status. That voice, the understated guitar, the lyrics! Just wonderful...

Posted by snackeru at October 5, 2005 8:53 AM | Stadiums


I think you need to take small steps on the stadiums Shane. I say encourage a special session for the Gophers stadium only. Get that one done and over with. Hey, that's 1 out of the 3 done.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 5, 2005 9:51 AM

Sure, we definitely need to just get one done, and it looks like the Gophers stadium will be it. However, getting that one out of the way will not make a Twins stadium more likely. Prices will continue to go up, time will continue to pass. If it isn't done this year, 2007 is the soonest we could try again. That would probably be too late and too expensive. Oh well, at least I'm coming to grips with it.

Posted by: Shane at October 5, 2005 10:52 AM

I believe it takes a 2/3's majority vote to suspend the requirement that a bill is considered on three separate days. It still only takes a simple majority to actually pass a bill. That makes more sense to me than to change the voting requirements for passing the bill itself.

Posted by: Brad at October 5, 2005 11:34 AM

Personally, I can't wait for the Cash movie to come out. Although I'll most likely wait until Netflix carries it and enjoy it at home.

I cannot comment on the stadium stuff without losing my lunch.....

Posted by: Brian Maas at October 5, 2005 11:48 AM

Shane, let me know when I can borrow Longest Yard. I am assuming it's the remake.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 5, 2005 12:31 PM

Brad, thanks for the thoughts. Wouldn't a vote to suspend the requirement that a bill is considered on three separate days be just as difficult to pass given the legislators would know what they are voting for. Wouldn't they essentially know that they are voting for passing the Twins stadium bill as easily as possible?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you, but I just want to make sure.

Craig, I already watched and sent back the Longest Yard. Sorry.

Posted by: Shane at October 5, 2005 12:59 PM

You b@stard!

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at October 5, 2005 3:09 PM

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