During the final days of the campaign last November, Minnesota’s Republican party tried to make the Ebola outbreak a major campaign issue. It ran ads targeting Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) saying he wasn’t prepared for the Ebola outbreak and against Senator Al Franken (DFL) saying he was disinterested in the Ebola threat.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL) alluded to that when Ways and Means Committee Chair Jim Knoblach (R) announced a bill to fund fighting ebola in Minnesota would not be heard today as scheduled. Thissen wondered aloud what had happened to the number one priority of the Republican party before the election.
Thissen was joined by Deputy Minority Leader Erin Murphy (DFL) who tweeted “GOP’s extreme concern about Ebola last November has evaporated now that they are responsible to fund the action they demanded then.”
Majority Leader Joyce Peppin said there were questions about the Ebola funding that needed to be answered before the Ways and Means committee could consider it. Thissen asked why those questions remained when the bill had been before the committee for several weeks. Peppin countered that the new Republican majority was doing pretty well with moving legislation through the House and said the DFL which had the majority last year did not get a bill passed until February 11.
The bill also has deficiency funding for the St. Peter’s psychiatric hospital. Thissen said the delay would mean getting very close to the deadline set by the Department of Human Services for turning away people from the St. Peter facility.