Posts Tagged ‘Matt Entenza’

Sen. Lourey Afraid to say “Obama” and “Care” in the Same Sentence

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

In the commentary on the Legislative session written by Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL – Kerrick) and published in the local weekly papers, he states that the Legislature fought hard for federal funding for early enrollment in medical assistance (MA). Sen. Lourey further states that this would bring an additional $1.4 million to the state, but the Governor refused this position because he is seeking higher office.

Truth is, what the Democrat majority in the Legislature wanted, and what the Governor was opposed to, is an early opt-in to ObamaCare. The federal health care monstrosity, under the compromise reached at the end of session, will take effect in Minnesota when the Governor decides to opt in. The $1.4 billion of federal money Lourey says will come in from this will most surely be swallowed up by a huge expansion of benefits paid out to more people dependent on the public entitlement system.

This sets up a major issue in the Governor’s race this fall. The Democrat candidate, if elected, will surely choose to opt in, whether it’s Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Matt Entenza or Mark Dayton. Tom Emmer, like Governor Pawlenty will likely choose to not opt in.

In the meantime, Sen. Lourey will avoid the phrase “federal Health care” or “ObamaCare” like the plague.

But let’s face it. That’s basically what it is.

Where’s the Check and Balance on Judicial Overreach?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Last week, Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin issued a temporary restraining order on a portion of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s unallotments (executive decision to cut spending without legislative approval). The basis of this decision was that the Governor used his unallotment authority in a way not used before by announcing his intention to unallot prior to the start of the fiscal year.

In other words it’s the timing. The statute gives the executive branch unallotment powers when the revenues are less than anticipated. Judge Gearin’s argument is that the budget shortfall was not unanticipated when he announced his intention to unallot at the end of 2009 Legislative session, therefore the Governor overreached his constitutional authority. Presumably, Judge Gearin is acting as a “check and balance” on the Executive Branch.

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Legislature and the Governor were never going to come to an agreement on the overall budget. The Democrat controlled Legislature continued to send spending bills to the Governor that would require tax increases to pay for them. The Governor is staunchly opposed to tax increases. Unallotment was the last mechanism to balance the budget and end the session on time, which by the way is also in the constitution.

So Judge Gearin stepped in the middle of a dispute between the Legislative Branch and Executive Branch and made the decision for them. House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (a DFL candidate for Governor) immiedately went to the press to hail udge Gearin’s decision and denounce the Governor’s overreach. Likewise, DFL candidate for Governor Matt Entenza called the Governor’s unallotment action “hatchet tactics” (Interesting choice of words, considering the opposition research he authorized on fellow DFLer Mike Hatch in a power struggle between the two leading up to the 2006 election.)  

The question then becomes where is the check and balance on the judicial branch? I’m no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but it could be just as easily argued that Judge Gearin overreached by issuing a temporary restraining order to reinstate $5.3 million of spending on a dietary program.

When the Legislature and the Governor have a dispute, the people can easily speak through the ballot box to settle the dispute. With judges, it’s not that simple. Yes, I know. In Minnesota we elect our judges. But when can anyone recall an incumbent judge who was ever voted out of office?

Furthermore, those who are in the know will tell you Judge Gearin leans to the left politically and is a DFL sympathizer. Just go back to the Coleman-Franken recount. Judge Gearin was part of the three-judge panel that heard Colman’s case. Norm Coleman did not catch one break during the whole ordeal. Thousands of ballots reviewed, and dozens of rulings issued. One would think that by accident, Coleman would catch one break. Nope.

The good news is that Judge Gearin’s ruling is not the end of the story. Most likely the final decision will lie with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Hopefully, more rational heads will prevail with the final decision.