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Governor Vetoes School Payback Bill

Minnesota legislators make progress on voter ID and Vikings Stadium bill.

After the House and Senate passed identical bills that would use some state reserves to pay back money borrowed from schools in past years, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed it Thursday, calling it irresponsible.

According to an MPR article, Dayton deemed the bill irresponsible because it would have spent $430 million from the state's rainy day fund to pay a portion of the $2.4 billion owed to schools. He believed it didn't make sense to use that money as the state struggles with its budget.

Minnesota historically paid schools 90 percent of their state money in one fiscal year and the remaining 10 percent in the next. State lawmakers and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty previously changed that to a 70-30 split to balance the state’s budget—effectively borrowing from schools. During the 2011 special session, .

As the split has grown wider, more schools have had to use short-term borrowing to get through until the next payment arrives—incurring interest costs along the way.

At it stands, there is no definite plan at the legislature to fully pay back schools.

Voter ID Amendment Approved After Compromise and Speedy Voting Process

The , a day after the House gave its final approval and two days after the conference committee approved a new compromised bill.

The amendment will now officially be in the November ballot and up to voters to give final approval.

The following are some highlights of the compromise:

1) All voters must show a government-issued photo ID, which the state will provide for free.

2) All voters must be held to "substantially equivalent" eligibility standards.

3) Voters who do not show a photo ID can get a provisional ballot.

Richfield representatives were critical of the original Republican backed bill, with (DFL) believing the GOP was unable to get passed constitutional amendments. The compromise likely eased DFL concerns about the bill itself, however, , rather than amendments.

Vikings Stadium Bill Passes First Committee

. It also approved a companion bill that gives charities involved involved in stadium financing greater tax relief and permission to use the "tip boards" that would bring another $16 million in tax relief.

However, some fear the state won't actually be able to use the tip boards on which stadium supporters want to rely. In 1992, Congress passed a law barring most states from getting involved in sports betting. Some, including Gov. Dayton, worry tip boards will be considered sports betting. Dayton also warned that the bond financing the project would not feel comfortable relying on a revenue source that may ultimately be prohibited.

The Vikings also released conceptual images for the latest stadium proposal. .

Thissen Applauds Governor for Work on Health Care Reform

After Dayton announced $73 million in health care cost savings due to the 1 percent voluntary cap on HMO profits negotiated last year by Commissioner of Human Services Lucinda Jesson, Thissen released the following statement:

This is proof that the hard work of real reform can achieve real results. We applaud Governor Dayton and Commissioner Jesson for their hard work to achieve meaningful savings for Minnesota taxpayers in our shared pursuit of a more transparent health care system that works better for Minnesotans.

This good news is especially relevant given our debate on the House floor last week on the omnibus Health and Human Services bill. House DFLers attempted to amend the bill to use these excess HMO reserves to restore the devastating cuts Republicans made last year to personal care assistants. Republicans voted it down.

I hope we can now work together to utilize these smart health reforms made by Governor Dayton and do the right thing and restore the deep and painful cuts Republicans made to personal care assistants.

Let’s keep building on this success to make Minnesota’s health care system work better for Minnesotans.

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