Down by one run, the Gridlockers came to bat in the fifth inning striking hard and fast. Their batters waited patiently while the Senators sliced and diced sticky issues. Soon enough a nugget of disagreement was found and when teamwork started to unravel, gridlock became evident:
• The Senators were given nearly a 50 percent raise, but still many resented a bill submitted by Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) disallowing per diem meal allowances during special sessions.
• Real ID continued to have trouble gaining traction.
• Preemption was controversial and volatile with agreement hard to come by
• Minnesota expansion of medical assistance had provided coverage for more than 200,000 people costing nearly $2 billion, but the feds talked of slashing their support.
• An infusion of $900 million into the beleaguered individual marketplace was not enough to secure participation by the not-for-profit Minnesota health insurance carriers.
• Agreeable spending targets for the two-year budget cycle were elusive and vexing.
Seamy Plod put the icing on the cake by hitting a grand slam for the Gridlockers who finished their at-bats with a 7 to 4 lead.
The bottom of the fifth inning found Gov. Mark Dayton back in his box seat recuperating from recent surgery. The first batter up for the Senators was Dave Osmek (R-Mound) who stared furiously at the Gridlockers relief pitcher, a sneaky lefty named Matt Consul. Osmek’s long standing irritation with Consul caused him to swing wildly at a couple of curveballs before finally smashing a low sinkerball straight at the pitcher’s head – Consul ducked nimbly and snagged the liner.
The next batter was Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth) who hesitated on a couple of fastballs before driving a pitch deep to left, but Willie Fly caught up with it on the warning track for a long out. The reliable Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) strode to the plate and doubled to center field by shepherding a complicated reinsurance healthcare bill through a partisan Senate. Announcer Scott Jensen ruffled some feathers when he supported an amendment by the hard-hitting Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), ensuring an option for all Minnesotans in all 87 counties.
Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) was up next. He transported a slow curve to second baseman Righty Rude for the third out. Dibble was heard protesting to the first base coach that the speed limit should be restricted to 45 mph.
Scott Jensen announced that the game was more than half over, and thanked Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) for his work on a Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program – a big deal for greater Minnesota.
The Gridlockers led 7 to 4, and the sun was past its zenith.
Sen. Scott Jensen represents District 47 in the Minnesota Senate.