Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt reportedly has his eye on running for governor next year. But Daudt's a Republican, and Minnesota's not a ruby Red state.
So, if Daudt wants to win, he's going to have to convince key Republican and Democratic moderates of his ability to govern. Which means his willingness to compromise.
Accepting the Senate's Real ID bill would be a great start.
There are only a few "must pass" bills this year in the Minnesota session. Real ID is one. Minnesotans need a law that brings their driver's licenses into compliance with the federal Real ID Act.
If legislators fail to pass the law, then starting next year, Minnesota passengers likely will need to need to remember their passports whenever they pack for the airport.
And not just for flights to Dubai, but for hops to Des Moines. Because a Minnesota driver's license no longer will be an acceptable ID.
That stark urgency, however, is only one reason why Daudt should prioritize Real ID. Here's another:
On Real ID, Democrats already have done their part: they've compromised. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has, too.
That means it's Daudt's turn.
A perfectly acceptable Real ID bill has passed the Minnesota Senate, winning bipartisan support. Dayton has indicated that he'd sign it.
If Daudt can convince his fellow House Republicans to jettison a hardline demand-exactly as the Democrats have modified their own stance-the bipartisan Senate bill soon will be on its way to Dayton's desk.
And Minnesotans no longer will be threatened with having to use passports as airport IDs.
The issue in Minnesota that's holding up Real ID is illegal immigration. At the start of the session, Dayton and the Democrats wanted the Real ID bill to give illegal immigrants a path to getting a driver's license.
Republicans rejected that proposal. Instead, they introduced a partisan clause of their own, one that would ban illegal immigrants from getting a driver's license.
At this point, Democrats have backed off of their demand. Dayton reportedly has, too.
He'll sign a Real ID bill, even if it lacks the Democrats' provision, Dayton has suggested.
So, now it's Daudt's turn, as mentioned. The House bill includes the Republicans' hardline proposal to bar illegal immigrants from getting licenses.
The Senate bill does not. It's a "clean" Real ID bill, one that doesn't mention immigration at all.
It needed-and got-Democrats' votes in order to pass.
That's the bill Daudt should urge his caucus to support. That's the plan he should declare is best for the state.
And that's the strategy Daudt can use to generate goodwill-a very important resource, especially for a Republican leader who wants to show MInnesotans that he can elevate statesmanship over partisanship when the time is right.
-- Tom Dennis for the Herald