It isn’t shocking to think that DFL politicians love overbloated government. Annually, they reflexively propose raising taxes. They love spending the taxpayers’ money on their political allies, too. Protecting union employees is one of their specialties. Two years ago, Gov. Dayton and the DFL threw a collective hissy fit when Keith Downey introduced his 15 by 2015 legislation. From that point forward, every union official seemingly started their sentences with “the Republicans’ war on working families.”

The first bill King Banaian submitted as a legislator was a bill that created the Sunset Advisory Commission. A miracle happened when Phyllis Kahn announced her support for King’s bill. After ending the government shutdown he created, Gov. Dayton signed King’s bill into law.

With the DFL back controlling the legislature and with Gov. Dayton still in office, they’re thinking about eliminating the Sunset Advisory Commission:

A budget bill in the Democratic-led House would get rid of the Minnesota Sunset Advisory Commission. The panel was created two years ago when Republicans were in charge. They touted it as a way to weed out government offices some people deem ineffective.

The commission met about a dozen times over the last couple of years and didn’t recommend cutting any government entities altogether. It did press for further reviews of some boards, including one that regulates combative sports like boxing and mixed martial arts.

The push to eliminate the Sunset Advisory Commission is in a broad budget bill that funds core government agencies.

It isn’t irony. It’s predictable. The DFL legislature, both Sen. Bakk and then-Minority Leader Thissen, used their picks to load up the panel with politicians like Matt Entenza. In short, their picks were people who wanted to undermine the law rather than work in good faith on protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers.

Here’s language from King’s bill:

Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.

Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.

Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.

Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.

Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.

Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.

Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.

Simply put, the bill requires the Commission to review whether the agency is performing an essential function, whether it’s doing what it was originally created to do or whether it’s ‘evolved’ into just another bloated part of state government.

The DFL’s disgust with governmental accountability is showing its ugly face. Taxpayers should be outraged that the DFL is thinking about eliminating a tool that’s designed to increase governmental accountability. If the DFL eliminates this commission, Republicans should make this one of their campaign themes in 2014. Hold every DFL legislator’s feet to the fire for voting against governmental accountability and thriftiness.

If they’re eliminating sensible laws like this, then they’re undoubtedly voting for creating more unaccountable agencies, boards, commissions and panels.

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