Session’s first vetoes draw Republican ire


Gov. Mark Dayton’s veto of four tort reform bills, promoted by the Republicans as needed to improve the state’s business climate, dominated legislative leaders’ Friday media availability.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) called Dayton’s rhetoric toward Republicans unproductive. In announcing his vetoes, the governor said the bills are right out of a conservative Washington think tank and favor special interests.

“He can call us names. He doesn’t owe us an explanation, but he owes one to the businesses” that support changes to the system, Zellers said.

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls) said he was glad to see the governor veto “anti-consumer legislation.”

Zellers left open the door that the bills could be reworked and put forward again. “I’m not a quitter. … This is what business owners want,” he said.

Zellers also commented on Thursday’s House passage of a bill (HF1766) that >ould prevent union deductions from state child care assistance payments. He called it a jobs issue that the caucus has been working on since last summer. He said this bill goes directly to the cost of day care, and if the deduction was to be allowed, “It would absolutely destroy some family budgets.”

The DFL countered that the bill is not needed since day care providers are not unionized.

Looking to Dayton’s Feb. 15 State of the State address, Zellers said the ill-will that has surfaced in recent weeks between the Legislature and governor will be put aside.

“We’ll be listening for things where there is common ground, things that we can work together on.”

Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem (R-Rochester) said the state of the state is good. “We have a $1 billion surplus. … The work that was done last year has taken us a long way.”