As many of you know, the 2006 Minnesota legislative session starts today. It promises to be contentious, yet I'd expect that legislators, all 201 of whose seats are up for election in November, will try long and hard to put a cooperative, bipartisan sheen on all the work they do in order to replace memories of the 2005 shutdown (and isn't it funny how long ago that seems?).
Gay marriage: not going anywhere. Democrats are adopting the right strategy, which is that gay marriage is, agree with it or not, illegal in this state and that making it a constitutional amendment is stupid. There are far more important issues this year, and the only reason Republicans are going after this issue is to fire up the base.
Eminent domain: obviously something will be done, and the only question is exactly what. I'd predict something more along the lines of the DFL's plan will end up becoming law.
Bonding: a bill will be passed, unlike in 2003, and I think that, with all their touting of the surplus, Republicans will have a hard time saying we can't afford the DFL's plan. Gov. Pawlenty's bonding proposals seem to have their focus in some of the wrong areas, too.
Stadiums: This is a toughie, as it's still very up in the air as to which stadiums, if any, the Legislature will approve. I find it likely that the Gopher stadium will happen sooner or later, as many of the questions and problems with the other stadiums aren't true of the Gopher stadium. A Twins stadium is more likely than a Vikings stadium, but there are still a lot of issues with both and neither will be anywhere near a slam dunk. I'd say 75% likely for the Gophers, 66% for the Twins, and 25% for the Vikes. As a side note, if the Twins get a stadium deal approved, I think it will come with a referendum.
Significant reorganization of the Legislature: Not a chance. Some small reforms might take place, but I don't believe the need nor the will for any huge changes exists.
Health Impact Fee: If the state's appeal fails, there will be a lot of pressure in the Legislature to remake it as a tax. It'll put Gov. Pawlenty in a hell of a bind; look for him to refuse to sign it as per his no-new-tax pledge, then take a huge hit in his reelection campaign.Technorati Tags: 2006 Minnesota legislative session Twins stadium Gopher stadium Vikings stadium Tim Pawlenty Health Impact Fee Minnesota House Minnesota Senate