ST PAUL, Min.- This isn’t the first time the Minnesota Legislative branch was controlled by the GOP. In 2011, the state government closed down as lawmakers scrambled to pass a budget, something those who worked through want to avoid.
“Really we should all learn lessons from 2011, says Republican Senator Carla Nelson. “I don’t think anybody is gunning for a special session, in fact we should be doing everything possible to avoid that. These are different circumstances than in 2011. We have a surplus going in to the budget year and back then many of the representatives were new.”
“It’s a different philosophy, but I think you just have to try and be able to work together the best that we can,” says Democratic Farm Labor Senator Dan Sparks.
With a number of high priority items such as high premium healthcare, a budget, a transportation bill and a bonding bill, many wonder how this session will unfold.
“It will be different in between the House and Senate and whether not they want a bonding bill this year,” says DFL State Rep. Jeanne Poppe. “The House is seeming like they may be less inclined to bonding and kind of put that into the second year. If that’s the case we will end up with maybe a lot of talk but not a lot of action on that one.”
“We now have a Republican Senate and Republican House it’s going to take some shaking out and working out how that’s going to work with the governor. That’s probably the biggest step, but again I’m confident we’re here for people,” says Republican State Rep. Peggy Bennett.
One thing is for certain, the GOP will control the bills that come up for conversation, but with only a one seat majority in the Senate, policy makers are expecting high voter turnout.
“I think calmer heads will prevail especially the Senate with the narrow margin 34 Republicans to 33 Democrats,” says Senator Sparks. “Now more than ever we know that every vote counts so I think there’s going to be cooperation between both sides I think we can find areas to work together and we certainly will.”