Editorial: Legislators better agree to get work done

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 13, 2004

Seems like every year, the legislature stalls in its work to improve the quality of life in Minnesota. This year the in-fighting seems worse than most.

The Senate can’t agree with the House, and the Governor can’t agree with either party and with no &uot;major&uot; decisions on the table, as is the case in a budget year, the legislative players seem content to let the session end with little accomplished.

Still awaiting action are bills to fill a $160 million hole in the budget, longer prison sentences for sex offenders, funding for construction projects on university campuses, new school standards for science and social studies, and a crackdown on drunken driving.

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If they walk away from the legislative session on Monday without solving their differences, they will have wasted our money &045; and there is no excuse for that. The bills they have managed to agree on simply aren’t enough to justify the money spent this session.

Our governor said nothing &uot;legally has to happen so there is no hammer over the head of the legislature,&uot; as was the case last year, and will be the case next year.

And the House and Senate apparently agree with Pawlenty’s assessment, although both House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Majority Leader Dean Johnson pledged to &uot;tone down their public bickering and get to work.&uot;

Johnson, at least, said he, Sviggum and Pawlenty, have said things that were best kept to themselves, and he &uot;made himself a promise to be decent and nice.&uot;

These men are leaders. Why isn’t being &uot;decent and nice,&uot; simply common courtesy? And certainly when being civil results in a better quality of life for the people these fellas represent, why can’t they find a way to pass bills that are important to Minnesotans?

Perhaps the governor, Sviggum and Johnson should put aside their personal aspirations and focus getting their work done.