Bonding bill not going to the governor


And the bonding bill tug of war continues. 

In our latest episode, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Mpls) announced that the bill, approved by the House and Senate Monday, will not be sent to Gov. Tim Pawlenty who threatened a full veto because of the bill’s size and contents.

Instead, after a request from Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Keith Langseth (DFL-Glyndon), the $999.92 million bill will be returned to the Senate.

Because nobody has signed HF2700*/ SF2360, Kelliher said legislative rules allow the speaker to return the House file to the Senate, which has the option of taking action when it reconvenes Thursday. (Watch the press conference.)

Pawlenty repeatedly warned legislators he would not sign a bill larger than $725 million, and it had to contain some of his core projects.

“There was no confusion about what our expectations were for this bill. They intentionally did this and now they’ve got to clean up the mess,” he said, adding that he is willing to consider adding or subtracting projects from his recommendations in an effort to compromise. (Watch his press conference.)

The bill provides money for things like higher education investments, flood mitigation for parts of the state, transportation and transit improvements, and clean water infrastructure and environmental protection.

Supporters say that now is the time for a larger bill with construction bids coming in about one-third lower and low interest rates. Plus, they said it would create more than 20,000 new jobs, many to begin once the frost is out of the ground.

Kelliher said Hausman and Langseth, the bill sponsors, will request specific information from the governor on what he wants in and out the bill to get it down to his requested $725 million.

Pawlenty said there shouldn’t be any confusion as to what has to be included: his Jan. 15 recommendations.

In warning lawmakers of his intentions in a letter Monday, Pawlenty was critical of what was missing from their bill, including $89.07 million for an expansion of the sex offender treatment program in Moose Lake, a security system at the Oak Park Heights prison and renovations at the Minneapolis Veterans Home to give residents their own rooms and bathrooms. However, he noted the bill contains funding for “various sports facilities and civic centers, trail enhancements, and other local earmark projects.”