Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last stop before the floor

The Marriage Discrimination Amendment has one more hurdle to jump before it gets to the House floor. It must pass through the House Rules and Administration committee, and is scheduled to be heard there at 8:30 AM Wednesday. This is not a mere formality, there is a very real chance to stop it in the Rules committee, at least for this session.

The Rules committee is split 14-11 between the GOP and DFL. This means that flipping getting one "no" vote and one non-vote from the GOP would deadlock the committee 12-12, assuming that all DFL'ers vote "no." And there are cracks in the facade of unity in the GOP caucus on this issue.

It started a couple of weeks back when freshman GOP Rep. John Kriesel announced that he opposed the Marriage Discrimination Amendment. Yesterday, in a story about Kriesel's opposition, the South Washington County Bulletin reported that Rep. Denny McNamara wouldn't commit to voting it either. McNamara's comments are those of a politician who really, really doesn't want to comment on an issue. He's not the only one. Rumor is that there are more than a handful of GOP politicians who really don't want to vote for the amendment, but feel tremendous pressure to do so.

Rep. McNamara serves on the Rules and Administration Committee. He could be one of the votes needed to stop the Marriage Discrimination Amendment from reaching a vote on the floor. Freshman GOP Rep. King Banaian, who has broken with his caucus on higher education funding, also serves on the Rules committee

These folks (and everyone else on the committee) need to hear from you, especially if you are a constituent.

If you're able to make it to the Capitol, the Rules and Administration Committee hearing will be at 8:30 AM Wednesday in Room 10 of the State Office Building. A number of organizations are mobilizing to pack the hearing with opponents, and you can be one of them!

If you can't, here is the contact information for folks on the Rules committee. Let them know that you want them to vote against sending the Marriage Discrimination Amendment to the House floor.

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