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Both parties derailed the proposed bonding bill

To the Editor:
 
Ka-thunk. Another legislative session ended without passing the main course, which this year was the state bonding bill. But instead of accepting part of the blame for the fiasco, our local legislators are pointing their fingers at Senate Democrats for end-of-session maneuvering.
 
Their complaint? A last-minute amendment by Senate Democrats, which they say derailed the bonding bill. Ignored by our local legislators were the last-minute flurry of amendments House Republicans made before passing the bill and sending it to the Senate for final approval in the last minutes of the session.
 
Delay was the name of the game for the Republican-led House this year, with no sign of a bonding bill until five days before the end of the session. That attitude carried through to the last night of the session, when the bill’s author introduced a major amendment so late in the game that it was not seen in printed form before being further amended — by Republican legislators only — and passed by the House.
 
Those changes were made at the 11th hour in order to force the Senate to accept the bill “as is,” despite the lack of one of the Senate’s “must-have” provisions in the bill. When an amendment to include funding for Southwest Light Rail was made, the House abruptly adjourned. Since that ended any chance of the House concurring with the Senate version of the bill, the bill was now dead for the session.
 
Thankfully, Gov. Dayton has agreed to call a special session which will give House and Senate members a chance to redeem themselves by passing a bill that all sides can agree on. Last minute gamesmanship has already cost Minnesota dearly, and finger-pointing will not cure the problem. What we need are people in office who will put aside partisanship and work together to find solutions that bridge the gap between parties. Let’s think about that when we head out to the polls this November.
 
Merle Larson
Dassel
Senate District 18 DFL chair