Thursday, May 19, 2011

Budget bills pass; Vetoes expected

The Senate debated the state government conference report for almost five hours yesterday on the floor before passing it by a vote of 37-29. Democratic members delivered passionate speeches on the floor about the value of state employees given the reductions in the bill that affect state employees. The House also took up the state government bill and passed it 70-62. There was discussion on the floor about the provision in the bill that attempts to save $90 million in the state employees group insurance program, or SEGIP. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said the cost to state employees would be unfair. "This bill insults them and undermines the confidence and the trust that we have placed in them," Winkler said. The bill is now on its way to the governor.

The Senate also passed the K-12 Education bill, the Health and Human Services bill and the photo ID voter bill. The House also passed the Jobs and Economic Development bill, Transportation and Public Safety bills. Gov. Dayton said yesterday that he will reject the conference reports the House and Senate have been taking up the last 24 hours and will send them back. Dayton is expected to address a joint session of the Republican caucuses today at 1:15 p.m. Expect Dayton and legislative leaders to address the media following the governor's address.

The Senate goes into session today at noon and the House goes in at 3:00 p.m. While the House passed the higher education conference report overnight Tuesday, the Senate has not yet taken it up. They are expected to today. The schedule for the remaining days of the regular session will be fluid, so continue to watch for future updates.

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