GAMC override vote possible Monday


The House may vote Monday on whether to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s veto of General Assistance Medical Care funding.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Mpls) said legislative leaders will spend the weekend working with the governor’s office to find a compromise on GAMC. The program, which provides health coverage to low-income adults, was effectively eliminated by Pawlenty last year through executive actions. Absent new funding, GAMC is scheduled to expire April 1.

“We think a signed bill is preferable to an override situation,” Kelliher said; however, if negotiations fail to show progress by Monday, she said DFLers may force an override vote on HF2680/  SF2168*, which would temporarily restore funding to the program. (Watch the press conference.)

Minority will uphold GAMC veto, leader says

House Republicans say they will work with Democrats and the governor’s office over the weekend to find a compromise on controversial health care legislation.

Should those discussions fall through, House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) said his caucus members will uphold Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of HF2680/ SF2168*, which would create a 16-month version of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC). Funding for the current program, which serves low-income childless adults, is scheduled to end April 1. (Watch the press conference)

Zellers did not say if the House would attempt an override of the governor’s veto. He criticized the Senate, which voted to override Thursday, of not giving GAMC legislation the attention it deserves.

“This is an issue of extreme significance and should be treated that way,” he said.

Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) said he is hopeful all parties will reach some kind of consensus before the full House convenes Monday. There is widespread agreement that the GAMC population needs better care at a cost that is sustainable in the long-term, he said.

“I think we’re very, very close,” Dean said, but finding a bill that the governor can sign and attempting a veto override are two mutually exclusive efforts.

Pawlenty has said he would like to address the GAMC issue in the context of the budget situation. In his veto message, he called passage of the GAMC legislation “premature.”

– Lauren Radomski

Asked whether House DFLers could corral the 90 votes needed for a successful override, Kelliher said she didn’t know. The House passed the bill on a bipartisan vote of 125-9 on Feb. 18; however, House Republicans have said they will uphold Pawlenty’s veto. The Senate voted 45-21 to override the governor’s veto Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, negotiations will also continue over the weekend on a nearly $1 billion bonding bill passed by the House and Senate, but which Pawlenty has also threatened to veto.

Looking ahead to the next week, Kelliher said other major agenda items will include:

  • the release of the February budget forecast on Tuesday, and a joint committee hearing Wednesday night to discuss it;
  • a Tuesday hearing on proposals supported by the bipartisan Small Business Caucus;
  • a floor vote on a bill that would provide tax exemptions for donations to Haiti; and
  • a Wednesday hearing on distracted driving issues.