The Minnesota House and Senate before going home for the weekend passed a bill to fund their operations — the subject of a protracted legal battle after Governor Mark Dayton vetoed an similar measure last year. But it’s expected this time Dayton will sign it. He said earlier, “I want to put it all behind us. I want to move forward.”
Democrats say before approving money to run the legislature, lawmakers should have ratified new contracts for state employees that the Dayton administration negotiated with the unions — but Republicans want to make changes. North Saint Paul Democrat Leon Lillie calls it, “Playing legal crap games…. This is Minnesota. We’re better than this.” Lillie says lawmakers should take care of the state government team. Mazeppa Republican Steve Drazkowski responds, “As we think about the team, are we only gonna think about the government team, or are we gonna think about the Minnesota team?” He’s talking about the people who foot the bill — the taxpayers.
Brooklyn Center Democrat Debra Hilstrom says about measures that Republicans wanted to include in state employee contracts: “It was anti-labor language, it was anti-contract language, it was union-busting language and I wanted no part of that.” Maple Lake Republican Marion O’Neill responds many of the provisions came from the Dayton administration or non-partisan staff. “We’re really looking out for the employees and trying to make this process easier and simpler and better for them, not worse for them,” she says. The battle over state employee contracts is not over.
More in these back-to-back interviews with Hilstrom and O’Neill: