Minnesotans to hold vigil Monday to support saving GAMC


Minnesotans will hold a vigil Monday at the state Capitol to urge a House override of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of General Assistance Medical Care, an action the Senate already has taken. The vigil will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 1, outside the House chambers at the state Capitol in St. Paul. It is organized by the Save GAMC Coalition under the theme “Vote Yes Again.”

The House may vote Monday on whether to override Pawlenty’s veto. However, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher 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 legislation that temporarily restores funding to the program.

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.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 45-21 – along party lines – to override the governor’s veto.

“The proposal costs less, covers more people for a longer period of time and does fair by providers in this state,” said Senator Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, who made the motion to override Pawlenty’s veto.

“This is your last chance to vote on behalf of your communities to do the best that we can for providers and constituents who rely on the General Assistance Medical Care program. This is your last chance to represent them today.”

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.”

This article contains information from Session Daily, a publication of the Minnesota House.