Pawlenty meets with bonding, GAMC leadersThe governor and legislators are meeting over two sticky issues that had appeared ready to implode.
By: Andrew Tellijohn and Don Davis, E/P State Capitol Bureau
ST. PAUL -- The governor and legislators are meeting over two sticky
issues that had appeared ready to implode.
Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty met with key lawmakers Wednesday on a
public works funding bill and a health-care program for some of
Minnesota's poorest residents. While no deals were reached, both sides
said they made progress and were optimistic they could work out
Ten legislators working on a public works finance bill met with Pawlenty
late Wednesday afternoon, emerging saying that they thought an agreement
would come by next week.
"I think we have opened the door and we can start working the on the
process," Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said.
Even one of Pawlenty's harshest critics, Sen. Keith Langseth,
DFL-Glyndon, said he was optimistic that a new bill could pass next
The House and Senate passed a public works bill, funded by the state
selling bonds, much larger than Pawlenty wants, but not including some
items he feels are important such as making more room for sex offender
Pawlenty put flood control at the top of his bonding priority list,
Key Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party lawmakers left their own meeting with
Pawlenty Wednesday afternoon hopeful there was still a chance to save
the General Assistance Medical Care program.
Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, said she was uncertain whether the
meeting and another one later would stave off a Senate attempt to
override Pawlenty's veto from last week, but believed he was sincere in
meeting with the DFL leaders.
The governor's veto came swiftly after the House and Senate passed pared
down versions of the GAMC program. An override would extend the program,
which serves more than 30,000 low-income adults, for 16 months.
The program that provides health care to single adults earning less than
$8,000 annually is scheduled to end April 1.