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Legislature finally passes $46B budget – but is a Dayton veto imminent?

Health, transportation and public works bills were all agreed last night.
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The 2017 legislative session is finally over after lawmakers agreed on the final budget bills in the early hours of Friday morning.

The bills that make up the $46 billion Minnesota state budget will now go to Governor Mark Dayton to be signed after three days of special session that saw representatives and senators hammer out the final details.

However, the question remains as to whether Gov. Dayton will accept some of the bills as they currently are, particularly considering one that passed last night was the controversial "preemption bill" banning cities from setting their own minimum wages and sick leave rules.

Dayton intends to hold a news conference on Friday to reveal his intentions.

The House DFL is accusing Republicans of "pitting one group of workers against another" as they tacked on fundings for pensions and raises for state employees within the preemption bill, which House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman described in a statement sent to GoMN as "cruel."

"They easily could have put the pension provisions and approval of the existing contracts in a separate bill," she said.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt disagrees, however.

So what was passed?

Much of the discussion was about how to spend the $1.65 billion surplus left over from last year.

The Star Tribune reports that bills that Dayton has agreed to sign includes $650 million to fund a tax cut for Minnesotans, $483 million in additional education funding – providing $120 more per student for the next two years – and a $300 million transportation bill.

Also agreed last night was a $15 billion health and human services bill, the final version of which featured smaller cuts in assistance programs than originally intended, and also removed the GOP's attempt to eliminate MNsure, the newspaper notes.

KSTP notes that Dayton is also facing pressure from Democratic groups regarding the tax bill he's agreed to sign, with activists arguing it would harm state finances.

Also passing last night was a $995 million bonding bill, which will help the state catch up on funding projects delayed or mothballed over the past two years, with MPR noting these include wastewater plant upgrades and college campus repairs.

MPR adds that an extra $70 million is being given to the Metropolitan Council to help cover its project mass transit deficit, which the Star Tribune noted on Wednesday has been primarily caused by soaring costs and demand for Metro Mobility.

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