A very special session

A special legislative session should be a priority for state politicians.

When the state needed its spirits lifted following the disasters that occurred in August, our local politicians offered the possibility of a special legislative session to address crucial issues. Since then, the typical political bickering has resumed, and the prospects for a special session are fading. Gov. Pawlenty is adamant about restricting the scope and duration of such a session, and the DFL-led Legislature would like to see a broader agenda. Suddenly it seems that the people of Minnesota have taken a backseat to partisan posturing.

Gov. Pawlenty is understandably wary of a special session. While the Governor is the only one who can call a special session, it is the legislature that holds the power to end it. Pawlenty could take a political hit if the overwhelmingly DFL House and Senate run roughshod over his agenda with a large list of to-dos. The legislative leaders are trying to work out a deal, but an agreement has been hard to come by.

The state needs a special session to address the massive changes that have taken place. Certainly the legislature should convene to borrow and allocate the necessary funds to address flood relief and specific road needs. These emergency issues must take top priority, but several additional issues deserve consideration. Last session’s failed attempt to increase transportation funding should be rectified with a comprehensive transportation bill that includes new and permanent funding. Additionally, the people of Minnesota deserve to see a tax bill that would alleviate property tax burdens and provide local government aid.

It is truly disappointing that the politicians are failing the people of Minnesota. The postdisaster feelings of brotherhood have evaporated, and the atmosphere is once again hostile. The legislative leaders must come to an agreement with the governor. We need to see our government working tirelessly for us in times of crisis, and a special session would address that current need. In the process of negotiating the special session, our politicians must put Minnesotans, not their images, first.