DFLers should focus on getting regular job done
When political parties attain a controlling majority in Congress or a state legislature, they tend to flex their muscle and try to push through all the pet bills and projects that the other party was blocking before.
So it is in Minnesota this year, where the DFL has gained control of the State Senate to go along with its majority in the House. With DFLer Tim Walz in the governor’s office, the DFL is poised to do whatever it wants to do. It’s not quite that simple, of course. Not all members of a party necessarily want the same thing, and on some issues, they need a supermajority, which will require Republican support.
But there are a lot of things the DFL wants to do and is now in a position to do. Among them is approving a recreational marijuana law for the state, something that the Republican-controlled Senate always blocked in the past.
This is a controversial subject, with pluses and minuses on both sides. Decriminalizing marijuana would free up a lot of aw enforcement resources for bigger crimes, but it will also pose enforcement problems for driving under the influence, for example. This is an issue that requires much reflection and input from everyone before it is passed.
What the DFL majority should focus on most, however, is getting the regular business of state government done. Minnesota’s split legislature in the past has had trouble getting budgets passed on time, getting bonding bills done and passing policy measures without one side or the other holding up the process for some deal-making.
With one party in control, the process should be streamlined. There should be no last-minute race to get a budget bill drafted before the legislature’s adjournment deadline. There should be no need for another special session to accomplish something as basic as keeping the state running without threat of a shutdown.
The DFL should resist the temptation to ram its own special agenda down the state’s throat and dedicate itself to taking care of business in an orderly and reasonable fashion.