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Process dispute leads to Dayton vetoing parts of outdoors funds

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ST. PAUL -- Governor Mark Dayton vetoed two provisions of a bill funding outdoors and arts projects, saying a House committee ignored a citizen advisory panel.

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The vetoes eliminated $3 million to fight aquatic invasive species that was destined for tribal and local governments and $6.3 million to improve Twin Cities parks.

"This decision is extremely difficult for me," Dayton wrote to legislative leaders, because he supports the causes but said he would veto projects the advisory committee did not recommend.

Dayton blamed a House panel led by Representative Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, for the situation.

"I believe it is imperative that the leadership of the House Legacy Committee repair its relations with the Lessard-Sams [Outdoor Heritage] Council and the many sportsmen, sportswomen, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, hunters, anglers and everyone else committed to the enhancement of our state's priceless outdoor heritage," Dayton said. "Otherwise, I have serious doubts that a legacy bill can be enacted in future legislative sessions."

Legacy funds come from a sales tax increase voters approved in 2008.

The veto follows letters from lawmakers of both parties that asked for the Twin Cities parks veto.

"Governor Mark Dayton has continually pledged to support the recommendations of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council," Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said before the veto. "The language that is in the current bill does not follow those recommendations. Governor Dayton knows that the sportsmen of this state rely on this council to provide guidance to their constitutional right secured by the 2008 amendment."

Ingebrigtsen was one of seven senators to send a letter urging Dayton veto the parks provision. Seventeen rural Republican House members also sent him a letter with the same request.

Dayton said the parks and invasive species

protection had other funding from the just-adjourned Legislature.

"In my 13 legislative sessions, I have rarely seen the acrimony and distrust, which this dispute has caused between legislators and concerned citizens," Dayton said. "The bitterness is not about the merits of the two projects I am vetoing, but rather the way in which they were added and other significant changes were proposed to the House bill."

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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