Senators ahead of Gridlockers at Capitol during ’17 session

Scott Jensen
Guest Column

Score from 6th Inning: Senators 11, Gridlockers 7

Into the 7th inning:

The seventh-inning stretch over the Easter break gave the freshman announcer, Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), time to reflect on what he had learned about the legislative process. He was surprised and disappointed that so many senators, lobbyists, and constituents seemed more interested in drawing lines in the sand than solving problems. The Legislature often resembled a bubbling pot of emotions and power-broking. True statesmanship seemed to be an endangered mode of behavior. Jensen worried that he had already been infected with the ‘politico’ virus and was already more affected by “groupthink” behavior than he realized.

The top of the seventh-inning found the Gridlockers taking a lot of pitches and arguing with chief umpire Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) about what was a “fair” strike zone. The result was three up and three down for the Gridlockers, and the Senators came to bat with ten different omnibus bills waiting on their plate.

Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) heated things up by smashing a curve ball into left-center field and guiding a preemption bill over tricky grounds. His Republican teammates took a dim view of individual communities creating a chaotic and inconsistent patchwork of standards and regulations by which businesses would be governed. Their solidarity of conviction sent a strong message that businesses should determine wages and benefits for employees. Miller’s knowledge of “inside-baseball” proved to be a powerful force in getting the bill approved, but he did ruffle a few feathers on the way to sliding into third base.

Unfortunately, the Senators’ bats went quiet for the rest of the inning as backroom deal-making and hushed hallway conversations reshaped omnibus bills before they could be addressed by the governor. Miller was stranded at third, and the score at the end of the seventh was the same as the beginning with the Senators leading, 11 to 7.

The sun was setting, the shadows lengthened, and to fend off boredom, some legislators simply played the cards they were dealt.
Meanwhile… nerves tightened and sleep fled.

Play-by-play provided by Sen. Scott Jensen, who represents District 47 in the Minnesota Senate.