Tim Pawlenty rests veto pen so he can fish

The governor, in case you missed the news, has gone fishing while the Legislature hammers out a last minute budget deal. Says he doesn't want to let down the good folks up around Lake Kabetogama by not showing up for a party they've been planning for year.

His R&R move prompted DFL Rep. Tom Bakk to start handing out "Where's Tim?" buttons at the Capitol on Friday.

While he says "yes" to fishing," he spent a lot of time last week saying "no" to the Legislature with his veto pen.

HF 2037, as we told you, aimed to erase the state's almost $3 billion projected deficit by with a combination of program cuts, fancy bookkeeping on K-12 payments, and raising taxes on about 221,000 upper-income Minnesotans. (Veto message here.)

HF 3327 would have made it OK for city- and county-owned hospitals to keep their top executives' salaries a secret. They're public employees, Pawlenty said. Shine some light on what they make. (Veto message here.)

HF 2634 would have limited new water use permits in the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer to potable domestic water use. A "significant obstacle" to business development, Pawlenty said. (Veto message here.)

HF 2614 would have expanded a Medicaid program called Medical Assistance. Pawlenty wasn't happy with how it was funded -- a surcharge on health care providers. (Veto message here.)

The idea behind SF 915 was to establish a mandatory statewide public health insurance pool for school district employees. Pawlenty said it didn't do enough to address rising health care costs, and represented a loss of local control for school districts. (Veto message here.)

The permanent disqualification standards for violent offenders who want to work for the Department of Human Services would have been relaxed under SF 2790. That was a non-starter for the governor. (Veto message here.)

Under SF 2226, it would have been illegal for a person to coerce another into running -- or not sunning -- for public office, either through threat or payment. Pawlenty said it duplicated an existing law. (Veto message here.)

With any luck (and a lot of hard political bargaining), Pawlenty and the legislature will find a way to say "yes" to a budget bill this weekend. We'll keep you posted.

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