During yesterday’s press conference, we carried a single note, and asked Governor TIm Walz (DFL-MN) House Majority Leader-elect Jamie Long (DFL-61B, Minneapolis) and Senate Majority Leader-elect Kari Dziedzic (DFL-60, Minneapolis) about the lack of need for Republican votes to pass an Capital Investment Bill by a simple majority. Walz said he still wants to allow for Republican buy in and as he learned the previous day when talking to county officials from across the state, local communities have a vast amount of unmet needs.
Something worth noting, is the the reality of the DFL control is palatable. Listen to or read the comments from all of the leaders and you will see it’s a message to Republicans, either play ball or suffer the consequences. We especially, think the comments of the incoming Senate Majority Leader provide the best indicator for how the session will play out. The question is will the three women legislative leaders be able to work collaboratively and that will depend largely on Minority Leader-elect Rep Lisa Demuth (R-13A, Cold Spring) and Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson (R-01, East Grand Forks).
Demuth may be conscious of the 2024 election, but Johnson has four years, unless something dramatic occurs, to mull over a return to being the loyal opposition party, but we will also note the two members of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who will now be Senators Steve Drazkowski (R-20, Wabasha) and Cal Bahr (R-31, East Bethel) and are not know for their go along to get along natures.
Here is the entire press conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEMk9FYHaMc
Our question we asked Walz occurs at 1:06.48
C&B: “Since you have a very close legislative majority in the senate, why don’t you just do a direct spending bill on that question?”
Walz:“Like I said, I went to the counties yesterday, all 87 seven counties were sitting at table and I got a standing ovation from eleven tables. So, you know how this works, and actually they’re all there. And, they mentioned as all of you have, you talk about One Minnesota, but you didn’t win as many counties as you did before, and I said, what it means on that is, those counties especially in Greater Minnesota are going to get exactly what they deserve, good roads, good schools, aid to do the things they need to do. So, I think the reason you try to go at a bonding bill, on this is, I care deeply on what minority members in the house and senate, need for this. Whoever represents Dillworth, has an argument that I have agreed with and in all of these areas, has a project that needs to be funded. And if you go straight cash on this, you may leave out some of those projects.”
C&B: “Just as a follow-up, you can do the same thing with a direct spending bill. And you can get all of what you just said, accomplished, but you only need a simple majority to pass a bill, as opposed to having to get a super majority of sixty votes. (sic) percent.”
Walz “I’m going to make the case, I have heard this, what you call a one vote majority? A Majority. But I’m going to take this a little bit further to be facetious about this, I care about what these members have, I’ve been in the minority, on these things, I’ve been in a situation where we’ve had divided government. If there is a true desire to work bipartisanly, I think it serves Minnesota so much better, that we do that in the traditional way. I would like to get the number of votes it takes to pass a bonding bill, with Republican support to do that. I think that is the place we need to start. Obviously, there is leverage to say we don’t need to do that, but I think there are large number of Minnesotans who would feel they’re not being heard, that they’re not being included. I am a champion of that Bonding Bill> I am as committed as I was in 2017, when Peggy and I started running, that we need to unify the state and quit dividing this. Quit saying, we’re not getting this, we’re not investing in this, because I’m going to be clear. In that Bonding Bill, there is going to be money for Lake Street that was held up. There’s going to be money for Minneapolis, that after we had civil unrest, and families and businesses, were displaced. And those are things that benefit Greater Minnesota the same way. So, we’re going to bring it back.”
During the Q&A with the legislative leadership we asked the following at 1:34.52
C&B: “As a majority leader, you used the word Trifecta numerous times in your conversations today, so I know it’s an important factor. Do you believe you actually need to have a Bonding Bill and have the long-term capacity for debt versus doing one-time funding and actually just having a spending bill to get your priorities advanced on infrastructure and capital investment?”
Second, is Elon Musk’s involvement in Twitter effecting your caucuses’ use of Twitter accounts?
Long: “I don’t know that I have done a survey on the second question, but on the first question. I’ll say we have tremendous needs we weren’t able to get a Bonding bill done over the last two years. And so, we, I heard Representative Torkelson say on Almanac, 1.5 billion was a number he had in mind, so I am hoping we are able to do some large Bonding Bills. I don’t think we’re at a point yet, where of deciding whether we’re going alone or together. I think we have real needs and we have to do those, do that work together, this year.”
Dziedzic: “I know Senator Pappas and had numerous conversations with Representative Fue Lee, in the House the Bonding Chair. I know that they have, are working on, different options of what to do. I think we will be looking to pass a Bonding Bill and if that doesn’t happen, we will have those alternative discussions. But I know I have talked to Senator Pappas and both of us are sickened, upset that again, they walked away from an agreement at the end of the year and we don’t have a Bonding Bill. Because if you look at all of those projects that could have been moving forward since last May that are still sitting out there the costs are only going up. So, we want to pass a Bonding Bill to help the state.”