There’s new leadership at the Minnesota State Capitol, from the executive branch to the House that switched control from Republicans to Democrats. Besides a new House speaker and majority leader, a newly-formed committee led by a veteran lawmaker is trying to tackle the bipartisan end-of-session dysfunction and meltdowns that have become commonplace at the Legislature.
I’ve covered 20 legislative sessions and 16 special sessions. Before that, my father covered 23 sessions and a then-record 13 special sessions. So clearly, the pace of extra-time at the Capitol has increased. Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) is chairing the committee charged with reforming the process that also created a record 4,542 bills introduced in the last biennium (a story we broke earlier this year). “We’re on a collision course with ourselves,” said the lawmaker, who has been elected to 17 terms. Pelowski thinks there’s an extra appetite for reform this session with many incoming freshmen who ran on reform.