Dayton and Republicans mix it up over vetoes, perceived name calling

Sen. Thompson from Lakeville

by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed two bills on Wednesday, May 25 dealing with abortion.

One of the bills, which restricted the use of state funding for abortions, was carried in the Senate by Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” said Thompson, adding that he thought even abortion-rights supporters would understand that abortion-

rights opponents find such funding “morally repugnant.”

In his veto letter, Dayton draws a different conclusion.

“Our place is not between a woman and her doctor. The law already prescribes that state funding may only be used for abortions in cases of rape or incest, for health or therapeutic reasons, and when a woman’s life is in danger,” Dayton wrote.

The governor also vetoed an abortion bill that prescribed criminal penalties for those providing abortions after 20 weeks from gestation, under certain conditions.

Dayton will take action tomorrow on Big Lake Republican Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s voter ID bill. Dayton has indicated he looks for bipartisan support in judging election-related legislation.

And the voter ID bill has lacked that.

Dayton made comments during a morning press conference that had freshmen Republican state senators appearing before the press this afternoon.

The governor, while expressing “personal respect” and “high regard” for Republicans legislative leaders, suggested the leaders were hobbled in budget negotiations by extreme, radical, right-wing lawmakers within their caucuses.

“That’s my view of it,” said Dayton.

Sen. Benson from Ham Lake

Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, cradling her baby daughter Claire Ann in her arms, at the afternoon press conference indicated that she found the governor’s perceived name calling troubling, because he had been so pleasant when they met before.

She’d like to see that side of his personality coming out now, she said.

Benson also expressed disappointment that Dayton had vetoed the K-12 finance bill.

“The governor could have signed that bill,” said Benson.

Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park, also expressed regret over Dayton’s depiction of caucuses within caucuses.

In her case, she defeated a long-serving, Democratic state senator, Wolf explained.

“I guarantee they (voters) would not go from a DFL senator to right-wing extremist in this election,” she said.

Indeed, 16 members of the Senate Republican freshmen class won against DFL state senators, Wolf explained.

Sen. Benjamin Kruse, R-Brooklyn Park, styled Republican freshmen as “driven by compassion.”

Personally, he met many voters out of work, jobless, while campaigning and can’t see raising taxes on these people, Kruse explained.

“Governor, come to the (negotiation) table with us,” he pleaded.

But that’s not going to happen immediately.

Dayton indicated that Republican leaders and he would be returning to the budget negotiation table later this week, or perhaps early next week.

The governor planned to discuss preparations for a possible government shutdown with his commissions at a cabinet meeting today for the first time, Dayton explained.

Without a budget, state agencies will run out of money on July 1. They’ll be prepared for that possibility, Dayton indicated. “But I can’t predict how long this will last,” he said of the current state budget standoff.

Dayton has proposed spending $35.8 billion in the upcoming two-year state budget cycle while Republicans want to spend $34 billion.

Both sides insist they’ve made budget concessions, and the other side is being pigheaded.

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