Miller Interview Please take one minute to evaluate our website. Click here to take the survey.
The Purple Caucus is a bipartisan collaboration of Minnesota State Senators aimed at ending partisan gridlock at the Legislature, according to State Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona). The goal of the Caucus, which was founded in March 2013, is to bring together legislators from both political parties to work on positive solutions for Minnesota, Miller says. He calls the Caucus a "much-needed platform to get things done in today's political environment." Miller and State Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) are co-founders and co-chairs of the Purple Caucus. All state senators are invited to join in the Caucus's work.
The Caucus set priorities for the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions and had several successes during those sessions, Miller notes. He lists those successes as moving forward on child-protection policies, impacting the education funding conversation, passing a bipartisan tax bill (vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton) and working on the Senate side on a bipartisan bonding bill. Miller believes legislators are noticing those successes and feel the Purple Caucus is starting to build momentum.
Miller asserts that the number one thing the Purple Caucus can do is to make good-government changes in the legislative process. He decries the last-minute nature of voting at the very end of the legislative session on Omnibus bills that neither legislators, the administration nor the general public have had time to review.
To put an end to, or at least minimize, that last-minute voting on bills and to increase transparency, the Purple Caucus put forth a proposal last spring that would require all conference-committee reports to be finalized at least one week before the end of the session. While the proposal could potentially be adopted by both the House and the Senate as a joint rule, Miller says it's more likely the proposal will need legislative action.
Miller also discusses what he calls the shortsightedness of the Legislature and the important role of lobbyists in the legislative process.
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