Jul 7, 2021 | By: Chris Burns

Minnesota Senate Goes Home Without Votes on Commissioners

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate adjourned its special session Wednesday without taking a planned vote on confirming two of Gov. Tim Walz’s commissioners, after Democrats objected to how GOP lawmakers essentially forced out another cabinet member a day earlier.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, of East Gull Lake, said GOP senators were ready to approve Sarah Strommen as commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources and Dean Compart as president of the Board of Animal Health on Wednesday. He also said they going to leave hanging the confirmation of Jennifer Ho as commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

The GOP majority appeared to be poised Tuesday to remove Laura Bishop as commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency before she resigned.

To voice their objections, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent, of Woodbury, moved Wednesday to end the special session without votes on the other commissioners.

Kent and other Democrats said Republicans have abused the confirmation process to remove commissioners with whom they have political disagreements. The GOP majority fired two of the Democratic governor’s commissioners last summer.

The vote to end the special session was 46-18 with several Republicans voting yes.

Lawmakers are expected to reconvene for another special session in September to discuss a $250 billion bonus pay plan for pandemic frontline workers.

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