March 22, 2012 - It’s been a momentous couple of years in Minnesota politics. In 2010, Republicans took control of both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature for the first time in a generation. At the same time, the DFL ended a near 20-year gubernatorial losing streak, resulting in a historic power swap for both parties.
The 2011 legislative session was rough for everyone involved, to say the least. When the Republicans controlling the legislature and the DFL governor were unable to agree on a budget, Minnesota ended up with the second government shutdown in state history. After weeks of state parks and government offices shuttered, the two sides came together for a deal that House Speaker Kurt Zellers deemed something, “we can all be disappointed in.”
In 2012 Republicans have attempted a new strategy to achieve their legislative priorities. Republicans in the legislature are working on passing multiple constitutional amendments. These would go straight to a fall ballot to be voted on by all Minnesotans and completely bypass the governor. A constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman is already set for the fall. Another requiring photo ID to vote looks likely. Others, including a so-called Right to Work amendment and an anti-tax amendment, are also making their way toward the ballot.
Will this strategy help GOP score some political wins this fall? Will it backfire and cost them seats and perhaps control of either chamber? What are the long term implications of governing by constitutional amendment?
And of course we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to ask Sarah for her 2012 predictions locally and on the national level. Will Minnesota maintain its Democratic streak in presidential elections? Which republican presidential candidate has the best shot at winning Minnesota this fall?