As political gridlock portended a possible government shutdown earlier this year, Iron Range Congressman Rick Nolan cracked out his legislative goodie bag. Nolan, who represents a swath of Minnesota from North Branch to the Canadian border, proposed legislation that would prohibit politicians from getting paid during government shutdowns.
"This legislation would require the Congress to work full time — with no salary — during any government shutdown until they pass a bill to fund our government and pay the public employees who go to work on our behalf every day,” he told The Hill newspaper.
It's the kind of initiative that's caused people to take notice of the DFLer. In fact, a study by the Legislative Effectiveness Project named him the second most effective Democrat in the House.
Nolan scored high marks at moving bills. The study also weighted initiatives for "substantive significance."
While most bills and resolutions languish in committees without so much as a sniff of action, Nolan introduced three measures that were signed into law. His Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Non-Intercourse Act, for example, empowers the Native Americans to actually be able to sell their own real estate.
Out of the state's other seven House members, only Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison received good marks in the study.
Those in the middle were GOP lawmakers Erik Paulsen and Minnesota's Most Reprehensible Congressman (TM), John Kline.
Two Democrats scored lowest in effectiveness. Longtime Congressman Collin Peterson, who's represented western Minnesota's 7th district since 1991, must have been without his A game. He sponsored one bill.
Fellow DFLer Rep. Betty McCollum, whose blue-thick constituency includes all of St. Paul and most of the capital's suburbs, introduced six measures during the 2013-2014 Congress, with but one receiving any sort of committee action.