February 26, 2010
Despite ongoing discussions between the Governor and key players to resolve the elimination of the General Assistance Medical Care issue, Senator Linda Berglin (DFL-Minneapolis) made the motion to override the Governor's veto of the GAMC bill. In a party line 45 to 21 vote, the Senate passed the veto override during their Thursday floor session. The House may take similar action during their Monday floor session. During Pawlenty's terms as Governor, he has used his veto pen for full- or line-item vetoing of 67 bills. He was overridden once on a transportation bill in 2008.
The Capital Bonding bill that has passed the House and Senate was recalled to the Senate. Legislative leaders and the Governor are having ongoing discussions regarding the agreement on a bonding bill. As passed, the bill includes about $1 billion in capital investment, which is much larger than the Governor's proposal. The overall budget deficit is at $1.2 billion, and the Governor and the Legislature are waiting for the next budget forecast, due out next week.
House Commerce Chair Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) held an informational hearing on a variety of gaming bills this week. The committee heard bills proposing electronic pull-tabs, sports bookmaking, an airport casino and a racino at existing horse racing tracks. The committee heard from a variety of groups supporting and opposed to the gaming bills. They received a demonstration of an electronic pull-tab machine complete with blinking lights.
Earlier this week, Representative Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) and Senator Dan Sparks (DFL-Austin) introduced a new version of the perennial Racino Bill. They termed their new bill as a jobs, family and economic development fund. They estimated the bill would raise $125 million per year via the expansion of video wagering at horse tracks in Minnesota. The bill appropriates 20 percent of the total revenues to five funds: agriculture and rural development, early childhood development and family education, research and development of bioscience and medical technology, athletic and recreational facilities, and general fund expenditures. The bill was not included.
Gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (R-Delano) held two press conferences this week. One announced his search committee for his Lieutenant Governor candidate, the other announced two heavy hitter endorsements. Former Congressman Vin Weber and Republican National Committeeman Brian Sullivan are endorsing Emmer for governor. Both are influential GOP members with credentials to recruit delegates, volunteers and significant donors.
This Saturday is known as “Super Saturday” because of the high number of local political conventions. All the gubernatorial candidates running for party endorsement are working hard to line up their delegates for the endorsement.
For up-to-date information about the Minnesota Legislature, tune into Almanac: At the Capitol. This lively and informative program is aired Wednesdays during the legislative session on Twin Cities Public Television at 7:00 PM on Channel 17 and at 10:00 PM on Channel 2.
Almanac: At the Capitol is seen on all public television stations throughout Minnesota and in Fargo. Winthrop & Weinstine is the exclusive law-firm partner and a sponsor of the program.
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