Lawmaking ain't easy. After identifying an issue near and dear to their hearts, constituents, or campaign donors -- okay, so really just donors -- legislators work to build support while navigating a gauntlet of peacocking colleagues and special interest groups.
But most bills don't become laws. In fact, only 77 of 2,200-plus bills this year have gone the distance.
While Minnesota's legislative session is heading into OT, the preliminary results are in. To gauge the productiveness of state senators and representatives, lobbyist Gary Carlson of the League of Minnesota Cities compiled a list of politicos in both bodies who turned the most bills into laws -- a legislative batting average of sorts.
Carlson's tally isn't comprehensive; it does not track resolutions or the many bills rolled into omnibus bills. (The guy's got a day job, after all.) However, it does offer a partial glimpse at who's getting things done at the State Capitol.
On the Senate side, Senators Vicki Jensen, DFL-Owatonna, and Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato topped the leader board, each with six bills they chiefly authored that got the guv's signature. Jensen started the year with a slam-dunk flood relief bill, steering $17 million in disaster aid to southern Minnesota, before winning a MNsure tweak to help patient advocates get paid.
Senator Sheran, who chairs the Health, Human Services and Housing committee, triggered a study for developing a silver alert system for missing seniors and expanded assault projections for people working with "the mentally ill and dangerous patients."
While Carlson notes senior members and committee chairs seemed to score well, junior Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary's Point, had the highest percentage in the Senate, picking her spots with two of her 10 bills going all the way. "Surprisingly, Senator Housley had 20 percent of her bills signed into law by the governor," Carlson said. "That was kind of an eye-opener for me."
Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine, won the 2015 House batting title with 26 percent of his bills becoming laws. While halting sales of lottery tickets at gas pumps, the Ted Williams of state governance tied with Sartell Republican and pension reformer Tim O'Driscoll with a House-leading five bills enacted.
Of course, with the highs come the lows. Granted, Carlson says the numbers might look considerably different if they included provisions etched into omnibus packages. But 30 Minnesota state senators and 83 representatives failed to turn a standalone bill into law.
Don't worry, guys. You'll get 'em next year.
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