Thursday, May 26, 2005

Senate DFL looks to 2006

As the Legislature goes into overtime again with the 2005 special session, Senate DFLers must be taking stock of their options for 2006 with some anxiety.

For example, Sen. Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins), chair of the Senate Education Committee, failed to deliver on key legislative priorities of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) in the omnibus K-12 education bill that passed the Senate:
  • Did not include levy cap relief

  • Did not include cost differential for suburban schools

  • Did include a mandatory statewide insurance pool for teachers (costing school districts millions); in fact, Sen. Kelley voted against making the insurance pool optional.

Sen. Kelley will have to find other ways of scoring points with his constituent groups, whether he decides to run for re-election or for higher office. The latter would be more attractive to him should the DFL lose their slim majority in the Senate next year. In its May 23 Capitol Compass e-newsletter, the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) reports on speculation that Sen. Kelley will announce his run for governor next month.

Majority Leader Sen. Dean Johnson (DFL-Willmar) may be looking for other career opportunities as well, considering his performance on two bills signed into law by Governor Tim Pawlenty this week:
  • The quiet reenactment of the Minnesota Citizens' Personal Protection Act of 2003, a.k.a. the "conceal carry" law, which was previously struck down by the courts on a technicality. Sen. Johnson allowed the reenacting legislation to be considered in the Senate, and he voted in favor of it. The courts handed gun rights opponents an opportunity to shoot down the law, but the DFL missed the target.

  • The Positive Alternatives Act, the number one legislative priority of pro-life group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), which passed the Senate with Sen. Johnson's "yea" vote.

Look for DFL legislators to stall and obstruct as a way to keep themselves in the spotlight after the Memorial Day recess. After the regular session, it's about all they have left.

UPDATE: Minnesota Democrats Exposed ran this AP story today on Sen. Kelley's presumptive (he's filed his papers and scheduled an event for next week) run for governor. SD 44 anyone?

No comments: