A blessed change of subject from the pandemic, police brutality and arson: The Minnesota Legislature.
Gov. Tim Walz is expected to call the Legislature into a special session, to begin Friday. As House Speaker Melissa Hortman told the Reformer’s Ricardo Lopez, it’s going to be a bit of a “free-for-all.”
Special sessions have in the recent past been preceded by intense negotiations, with each caucus leader and the governor signing off on a deal that limits the scope and makes the legislation a fait accompli.
Not this time. To extend his peacetime emergency powers, Walz needs to call the Legislature back, which means he has less leverage than he normally would. Only the Legislature can adjourn, so this is open-ended.
Here’s what lawmakers are confronting: Economic pain caused by the pandemic; public health issues related to the pandemic, especially in nursing homes that have become lethal to seniors; a $2.4 billion budget deficit; burned and looted small businesses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul in need of help; an unfinished public works bill; and, the raw, unhealed wounds of racial injustice with respect to both criminal justice but also income, housing and education.
Also, it’s an election year.
About that. Robert Costa is probably the best sourced reporter among the GOP in Washington and he writes this morning in the Post that Republicans are increasingly pessimistic about their party’s chances, as a series of national and battleground polls show the public is unimpressed with Trump’s handling of both the pandemic and demonstrations. (Lol. Well, yeah.)
Which brings me to Coolican’s maxim that stands Tip O’Neill’s on its head: All politics is national. (Ok, not my maxim, but longtime readers know my fealty to it.)
It’s possible the events of the past few weeks and “abolish” the police would make Minnesota an outlier this year, with suburbanites running toward the GOP. But it’s not likely. If Trump is at 40% in Minnesota, that means Republicans would have to rely on far too many ticket splitters, and there aren’t that many left anymore.
Five months to go. What will this season’s writers think of next?!?
In that Costa piece, here’s Minnesotan Josh Holmes, advisor to Sen. Mitch McConnell:
“It’s such a dynamic atmosphere that making political decisions, particularly rash political decisions, are guaranteed to be regrettable. If the next five months are like the last five months, then no one has any idea what the environment will be like in November.”
This morning in the Reformer, Max Nesterak has some great reporting from the former Sheraton hotel in south Minneapolis that became a sanctuary for people experiencing homelessness, an effort in a state of collapse after an overdose this week. It’s a classic tale of a toxic blend of good intentions and a stunning lack of expertise.
Reformer intern Madeline Deninger has a dispatch from the Hennepin County Board meeting Tuesday in which two members voted no on reappointing the medical examiner following an autopsy in which the medical examiner said George Floyd did not die of asphyxiation.
Bunch of reads I’ve been meaning to pass on:
Johns Hopkins political scientist in the Times on the informal networks that Minneapolis residents used to protect their neighborhoods during the unrest.
Alex Tabarrok makes a great point at Marginal Revolution: why do we need armed men (mostly) to issue a traffic citation? Traffic stops can turn deadly and they have also led to the erosion of our Fourth Amendment rights. Abolish armed traffic stops?
According to a new paper in the journal Nature, shutdown orders prevented 60 million cases of COVID-19, the Post reports. That’s a lot of lives saved, hospitals unused and economic savings.
At the same time, the shutdowns weren’t well targeted, so places with very little risk of spread felt disproportionate economic pain: Times.
No sign protests drove up infection rates in Minnesota, according to the COVID Tracker. (Being outside and mask wearing probably made a difference?)
This McKay Coppins piece on the Trump dynasty seems really fun/frightening and I’ve meaning to read it.
Correspond: [email protected]
Have a great day all. JPC