Editorial: Good sign for cooperation?

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005

House Speaker Steve Sviggum’s move to name two DFLers to vice chairmanships of key finance committees is a good sign for the coming legislative session.

Despite the move, which Sviggum said was aimed at building a cooperative spirit for the 2005 session, DFLers are protesting the composition of House committees, which give Republicans at least a two-vote majority in most cases and seven votes more than DFLers on the Ways and Means Committee.

Building comity should be a goal of legislative leadership given the tone at the Capitol in recent years. Last spring alone partisan rancor resulted in the Senate failing to confirm Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s education commissioner and no bonding bill being passed.

Email newsletter signup

Voters may well have taken out their frustration over the lack of productivity in November, giving the DFL party a healthy number of seats in the House.

While it is the majority’s prerogative to control committee membership and Sviggum has no duty to accommodate the minority party &045; albeit a minority party just two votes away from majority status &045; distributing committee assignments more equally might bring a bit of needed cooperation to the coming session.

After all, there is a lot on the agenda and the speaker will need DFL votes to pass legislation important to all Minnesotans.

Balancing a revenue shortfall of $700 million, addressing transportation needs and passing a bonding bill are among the items that should make for a busy 2005 session.

&045; The Daily Journal (International Falls)