Another hearing on health commissioner scheduled, canceled

For the second time in two weeks, Senate Republicans scheduled a confirmation hearing for Minnesota Department of Health Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger and then abruptly canceled it.

The chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, announced late Wednesday that there would be a hearing at 9:00 this morning. Ehlinger was there, along with DFL members of the committee. GOP members never showed up, and a staffer announced the meeting’s cancellation about an hour later.

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, later explained the change of plans.

“It was just a matter of whether or not we wanted to bring up commissioners before we go, and we decided, frankly, not to,” Senjem said.

The same committee postponed a confirmation hearing for Ehlinger two weeks ago, following a private meeting between Hann and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Earlier this year, Senate Republicans ousted Ellen Anderson, who was Dayton’s choice to lead the Public Utilities Commission. At the time, GOP leaders said they had two other Dayton appointees, Ehlinger and PCA Commissioner Paul Aasen, on their watch list. Aasen recently resigned to take another job.

Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato, was not pleased with today’s developments. She accused GOP leaders wasting the time of everyone who showed up for a meeting that never happened.

“I think it’s irresponsible, and it’s happened many times this session unnecessarily,” Sheran said.

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