Minnesota House Minority Leader Paul Thissen says that publicly, Republicans and Democrats agree they need to focus on the budget and the economy first. So today he proposed the House put it in writing and vote to not consider any constitutional amendments until the budget work is done. Many Republicans campaigned on passing a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Minnesota.
On a party-line vote, the House voted to refer the proposal to the rules committee, meaning it is not part of the temporary rules the House is operating under now.
ST. PAUL, MN – Members of the new Republican majority blocked a rules amendment today that would have made balancing Minnesota’s budget the House’s top priority this session. By deferring the measure to the Rules Committee, House Republicans empowered themselves to instead pursue a slate of constitutional amendments for a ban on same sex marriage, abortion, and photo ID.
State Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL – Golden Valley) had this to say regarding the House GOP’s priorities.
“Minnesota is facing historic economic and fiscal challenges. State lawmakers have just a few months to solve a gaping $6.2 billion deficit while preserving essential public services.
“But Republicans in the legislature would rather focus their attention on a divisive and prejudiced social agenda that denies some Minnesotans the right to marriage, denies women the right to choose, and denies seniors the right to vote.
“Minnesotans expect more of their legislature. They expect us to work together to solve the deficit responsibly and improve Minnesota’s economy. ”
Speaker Zellers said it best himself in a recent interview with the Associated Press:
Caucus leader Kurt Zellers, who is positioned to become the House speaker, said social issues such as a gay marriage ban, a photo identification requirement for voters and an expansion of gambling will have to wait.
If it does something to bring jobs back from Austin, Texas, that’s what we’re focused on,” he said at a news conference with newly elected and returning GOP representatives.
But actions speak louder than words. And by their actions here today, Minnesotans know the real Republican agenda for Minnesota.