As the constitutional Midnight deadline approached, bills in the GOP Controlled House were literally being ramrodded through by the Speaker overriding House rules and procedures. At the end, the House clerk announced the wrong bill number and then the body was made to vote on different bill with no discussion and no ability to even see the bill. Chaos ensued.
Adding to the confusion was the House clerk announcing a bill number that was apparently different than what lawmakers were expecting. The official house register shows the last minute vote was on HF 1437 the jobs, economic development and energy bill that had passed minutes ago in the Senate.Monday night was the constitutional end of session for the Minnesota Legislature. The DFL controlled Senate and GOP led House chambers faced a mandatory deadline at Midnight Tuesday.
But the House clerk announced it was HF 1077,a summary of that bill describes it as “Technical changes to Minnesota Statutes made resulting from repeal of outdated and redundant statutes relating to public safety.” The description the House clerk gave of the bill was “an act relating to agriculture”, which is the short description listed for the jobs, economic and energy bill.
HF 1077 was referred to the House Public Safety Committee on February 19, never had a hearing and was never sent to the Senate.
On the last day of session, both chambers raced against the clock to finish pending legislation like the budget, bonding, and other bills to keep the government working and paid.
The House, with more members, tends to be more long winded, as customs and usage dictate every member who wishes to be heard gets an opportunity speak. This year, the GOP controlled House was led by Rookie Speaker Kurt Daudt.
Keep in mind, the minority party in the House, the Democrats, feel no obligation to let the GOP get away with ramrodding their legislation through without some literal pokes in the eye. It is typical for the minority party to run a de facto filibuster. As of 11:00 PM, for example, Representative Purcell (D) was discussing the history of Native Americans in Minnesota to protest the exclusion of wild rice protections from the Legacy Bill.
The budget did not pass and is currently tied up in a three-way negotiations between the GOP House, DFL Senate, and DFL Governor- Mark Dayton. Therefore, a special session was deemed inevitable going into the evening. One of the problems for the Legislature is the State Capitol Building will be closed for renovations as soon as the session ended and will not be available for the special session.
To be fair, when the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) has been in charge of he past, it has not been uncommon for the DFL to limit debate in the last minutes before session end, especially in the face of a GOP led de facto filibusters. However, I have never seen an ending be so messed up by a Speaker, Democrat or Republican.
Contrast this chaos to the DFL Controlled Senate ending: