Friday, May 04, 2012

End of LIFO is Dead-O.  Or I suppose the headline could read "A-LIF, A-LIFO. A-LIF, A-LIFO, Singing Vetoes and Brickbats, A-LIF, A-LIFO," after that old Irish folk song.  Whatever halfway clever headline one would want to use, the simple fact is that the Governor vetoed HF 1870, the bill that would have eliminated the practice of "last in/first out" when approaching teacher layoffs.  The veto produced some quick criticism of the Governor's actions from Senator Pam Wolf (R-Spring Lake Park) and Representative Branden Petersen (R-Andover), the bill's chief authors.

The veto wasn't unexpected.  The Governor informed the Legislature a week or so back that he intended to veto the bill, but it's certainly within the Legislature's prerogative to send him the bill anyway and get the veto on record.  This is surely going to be an election wedge issue in the 2012 campaign (perhaps THE education wedge issue) and the comments from Senator Wolf and Representative Petersen bear that out.

Here is a link to the Governor's Veto Message on HF 1870:

Here is a link to the StarTribune's blog post on the veto containing quotes from Senator Wolf and Representative Petersen (and others):

In the End, Wasn't This All Expected?  The Legislature is taking the weekend off.  There are a number of congressional district conventions and the work at the Capitol is pretty much finished.  The logjam that some predicted, but most hope could be avoided is certainly upon us and as I reported last week, it's the combination of the tax bill, bonding bill, and stadium bill that has brought things to a screeching halt.

The Governor vetoed the tax bill before the ink on the conferee's signature's had dried (at least it seems that way).  While the bill contained a number of provisions with which the Governor vehemently disagreed and the veto wasn't unexpected, it does cast a bit of a pall on the remaining days (very few) of the session.  I didn't hear the interview on KFAN yesterday, but I understand that Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) said one problem facing the stadium vote is that there was little room to maneuver a "clean" vote on the stadium and expect it too pass unless it were part of a larger deal.  I can only surmise that Zellers means if the tax bill were still in play, a number of Republican votes for the stadium deal could be garnered as part of a trade.  That may still be possible, as the vetoed tax bill could be reconstituted with tax breaks that the Governor finds more palatable (the sales tax exemption on new capital equipment purchases has been mentioned as one he could support although it doesn't seem like it in the veto message).

Where the Governor loses in the failure to come to a wider deal is that he wanted a bonding bill in the neighborhood of $750 million and it looks like the Legislature will pass a bonding bill on Monday with just under $500 million in projects.

As for the stadium bill, I won't be taking any bets one way or the other.  It is a vote that a number of legislators have dreaded since the session began and it is a vote many will be questioned about on the campaign trail (regardless of how they vote).

Here is a link to the Governor's Veto Message on the Tax Bill:

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