An ice bath for “amendment fever?”


On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune had an article that included this:

For the third amendment slot, (Minnesota Senate Majority Leader David) Senjem likes the idea of preventing future state shutdowns, but the House has shown interest in making it harder for future legislators to raise taxes or to increase spending above fixed limits.

The first two slots are for voter suppression and marriage discrimination amendments. It’s clear from the article that Senjem, at least, and probably some of his less reality-deprived colleagues, would like to limit the number of proposed amendments on the 2012 ballot to three or, at most, four. They get that if the number goes above that, a lot of voters may very well just skip them all, which would count as “no” votes. Senjem also seems aware that it’s Republicans, who are being blamed by a plurality of voters for the shutdown; the amendment he’s thinking of may help rebuild public standing. Finally, there’s also likely a concern over voter backlash, if it looks like GOPers are bent on a wholesale rewrite of the state constitution.

Which sets up some interesting issues.

See, it’s pretty clear that some legislators, including some of the more notorious publicity pigs, either didn’t get the message about limiting the amendments, or are choosing to ignore it. This invaluable list shows 32 proposed amendments (a number of which are pretty much duplicates), with 27 of those from Republicans.

How are they going to react, if leadership does make it clear, when it’s time for showdowns, that “amendment fever” ain’t gonna happen? Or if one of the slots really is used for a no-more-shutdowns item that a lot of Republicans don’t particularly want? (In fact, if it was up to them, the shutdown would still be going on, before they’d give in, even to a miniscule degree.)

I’m not even going to speculate. Not only because there’s a good chance that the reality will be both more entertaining, and more disturbing, than anything that I’m likely to conceptualize. I’m also still having a bit of trouble focusing my own thought, toward actual legislative business, and away from a certain saga of illicit love ending badly…the like of which has been celebrated in song, poem, and prose through the ages…so poignant