Here comes the Bakk-mobile

If you learn politics on the Iron Range you grow to love verbal duels between Falstaff-like figures. That’s why I enjoyed this quote from State. Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston):

“If you want to get on the Bakk-mobile, go ahead. I’m not getting on the Bakk-mobile.”

That’s from Urmila Ramakrishnan’s story about an internal dispute among Range legislators over IRRRB restructuring that spilled over into the legislature Monday. Davids isn’t from the Iron Range, but the fact that he’s talking about the bill shows that Iron Range efforts to handle the bill in a unified way clearly broke down.

We already knew about the bill authored Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) to reduce and restructure the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Late last week, Iron Ranger and Senate majority leader Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) slipped a somewhat similar bill into a Senate tax bill, but one that would include more members … specifically more members from the Senate.

Bakk’s new version of the bill is the one that passed the Senate and the one that, with three Range dissenters, passed the House yesterday. Reps. Melin, Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) and Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia) opposed the Bakk measure, while Rep. David Dill (DFL-Orr) supported his district’s senator. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the larger tax bill, including the new IRRRB rules, later today.

Getting back to the Bakk-mobile for a moment. Here we see that Sen. Bakk holds the most powerful legislative position by any Ranger in recent memory. This will allow him to shape Range legislation to a great degree. Even against a rare split in Range DFL unity, Bakk has the votes to do things his way. It will be interesting to see how he mighty differently interpret Iron Range legislative priorities.

I’d further observe that this vote broke down 4-3 among the Range delegation — with the four most senior members voting against the three most junior. Not sure what that means either, but here we go.

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