In the last week, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has killed seven bills with the swipe of his veto pen, with the promise of more to come as the session ticks down toward its close Monday.
The first bill doesn’t have the votes for an override, but the second did and enjoyed significant Republican support.
Since Pawlenty fancies himself the “state’s goalie,” blocking shots from the DFL Legislature he says would make Minnesota a worse place to live, let’s take a look at the pucks he’s already stopped this week:
* HF 2037 from Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, and Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, would have eliminated the state’s $3 billion budget deficit through K-12 payment shifts, state aid and health and human services cuts, and by creating a fourth-tier income tax bracket.
The bill passed with only one vote to spare in the Senate, and Pawlenty said in his veto message that he opposed the new top income tax bracket and all tax increases to solve the deficit.
* HF 2614 from Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, and Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, was the omnibus health and human services bill. It would have cut $114 million in HHS spending and signed Minnesota up for the early federal Medicaid expansion program to replace the state’s General Assistance Medical Care program.
The bill did not get a veto-proof majority in the House of Representatives, and Pawlenty said in his veto message that the bill didn’t cut enough spending and would have put in place new surcharges to pay for expanded care.
This bill didn’t have a veto-proof majority, and Pawlenty said in his veto message that the bill would remove local control from school districts while not addressing inflationary health care costs.
The bill did not have a veto-proof majority in the House of Representatives and Pawlenty said in his veto message that he opposed the expungement changes and relaxing the permanent disqualification for certain types of employment with the state for people with violent juvenile records.
* SF 2226, from Sen. Sandy Rummel, DFL-White Bear Lake, and Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shoreview, would have made it a crime to coerce anyone who is considering becoming a candidate for office for or against them running.
The bill passed with a veto-proof majority, but Pawlenty said in his veto message that it was already a crime so the law wasn’t needed.
* HF 3327 from Rep. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, and Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, would have exempted city- or county-owned hospitals from having to report the salaries of their top three employees, as required in Minnesota data practices law.
This bill passed with veto-proof majorities too, but Pawlenty said in his veto message that it would have decreased accountability and transparency.
* HF 2634 from Rep. Jeremy Kalin, DFL-North Branch, and Sen. Rick Olseen, DFL-Harris, would have expanded prohibitions on new agricultural or commercial well permits being issued for use in the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer to prevent its exhaustion.
The bill passed with veto-proof majorities, but Pawlenty said in his veto message that the existing regulatory restrictions are enough and that new restrictions would hurt business expansion in the area.