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MN lawmakers approve 5 more budget bills – governor vetoes them almost immediately

What happens now? And why is this so complicated?

It took just under 30 minutes Monday evening for Gov. Mark Dayton to finish what he started last week.

Dayton vetoed five large finance bills – touching on transportation, public safety, jobs and energy, higher education, and taxes – that the Republican-controlled House and Senate had approved.

According to an office spokesperson, Dayton got the newly passed bills at 6:37 p.m., and signed the veto letters at 7:05 p.m.

Combined with the five large finance bills he vetoed last week, the Democratic governor has now shut down all 10 of the wide-ranging proposals that together make up Minnesota's budget.

This might come as a shock, but the local Republicans disagree with the vetoes. Rep. Kurt Daudt, the speaker of the House, said in a statement they sent a "balanced budget" to the governor. Daudt also said Dayton's suggestions for tax increases are "non-starters" since the state has a $1.6 billion surplus.

Dayton is following through on what he told the GOP-led House and Senate last week: to pass the finance bills asap, so he can veto them and they can get back to negotiating. That came after a breakdown in talks between the two sides.

What does this all mean?

By law, bills have to be passed before the end of May 22. Anything that doesn't get approved by state senators and representatives before that deadline is left hanging.

Included in that deadline are the above-mentioned 10 budget bills. If the state doesn't have budget bills passed and signed into law by the end of June, we could be dealing with our first government shutdown since 2011. (That's also the last time Dayton vetoed so many omnibus finance bills.)

So after the governor's veto-fest here, he and the GOP lawmakers have a week to get on the same page about what should and shouldn't be in the bills.

Both the House and Senate would have to vote again on whatever they come up with.

Why is this so complicated?

Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate. They have a larger one in the House.

So they can dictate which policies actually get to the governor for a signature, without much push back from DFLers in those chambers.

Dayton however can veto bills he doesn't like. For example, the governor says the big public safety bill doesn't provide the $200,000 needed to pay for some bomb squad services. That's one of the reasons he vetoed it.

The only way to override a veto is by getting two-thirds of the senators and two-thirds of the representatives to vote for an override.

Republicans on their own don't have that large of a majority. And it's unlikely Democrats would break from the governor and vote in favor of an override.

So everybody in this process has to bend if anything is going to become law. The GOP lawmakers will have to pass bills that include things Dayton likes. And Dayton will have to understand there will be some Republican proposals in there he may not agree with.

If we get past the May 22 deadline without real progress, the governor would have to call a special session in order to pass budget bills before the end of June. (A special sessions is when the lawmakers get together to approve bills outside of their normal, annual legislative period.)

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