Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s none too pleased that Republicans in the House and Senate plan to hold hearings to discuss whether Dayton has the legal authority to allow people working for in-home daycare providers to join unions.
Dayton has said he’s considering an executive order that would allow for those employees to vote on union membership, but he said he hasn’t made a final decision. Dayton said lawmakers’ decision to hold hearings before he takes any action is a “political ploy” and a waste of taxpayer money.
“Why don’t they start by reforming themselves and recognize that they’re a part-time Legislature that has been in session overtime all the way until the latter part of July?” Dayton said. “I’m well aware of the legal parameters that are available, but that doesn’t dictate policy. But I have a general counsel. I have the Attorney General. I don’t need a legislative show to trot this out, but that’s their prerogative and I think they need to hold themselves accountable as they want to hold the executive branch and stop fooling around.”
Dayton didn’t just criticize lawmakers for holding a hearing on the child care issue. He also ripped House Republicans for holding a news conference a few weeks ago to announce their efforts to reform state government. And he mocked committee chairs for holding hearings across the state on job creation – just weeks after the Legislature left St. Paul following the three week government shutdown.
“They had six months and they did very little on job creation,” Dayton said. “And I’m taking the initiative now, and we’re proactively engaged in it as we will be for the next three and a half years. So you missed your chance back then folks when taxpayers were paying for your salaries and your per diems.”
Dayton has held what he called job summits in places like Fergus Falls, Faribault, International Falls and the Iron Range.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers defended the hearings and their work:
“We are, true, a part-time Legislature meaning we don’t meet and we’re not in session every month or every week,” Zellers said. “But we are full-time legislators. Our constittuent service work doesn’t end when the session ends.”
Zellers said the Legislature wants hearings on the child care issue because lawmakers and their constituents have questions about the legality of a union.
GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch says she doesn’t understand why Dayton is criticizing their efforts to discuss jobs and the economy with Minnesotans.
“We welcome the governor’s ideas and I would hope that he would be open and welcome to our ideas.,” Koch said. “Having the executive branch and the legislative branch going out and listening to the people of Minnesota about the number one issue (jobs) and then coming back in January in session and passing some great legislation that helps clear the way for more job creation in the state. That’s only a good thing.”