MN Legislative Update – 2017 Session Wrap-Up

Governor Dayton initially signed nine out of the ten omnibus budget bills. He also signed the Bonding bill. He planned on allowing the Tax bill to become law at midnight without his signature. After the press conference, the Governor ultimately did sign the Tax bill to avoid the possibility of a pocket veto. There was initially some confusion regarding whether Dayton could allow the bill to become law without his signature, as the bill was completed in Special Session as opposed to the regular legislative session. During a press conference he held this evening, the Governor explained that he would have vetoed the Tax bill if not for the “poison pill” provision within the State Government bill that stated if he did not sign the Tax bill, the Department of Revenue would essentially lose its funding. He called this language a “sneak attack”. He also criticized many portions of the bills, but explained that he was signing them to avoid a shutdown.

The Governor also explained that he line item vetoed the House and Senate budget in the State Government Finance bill. He expressed his intention to call the legislature back into a Special Session to further negotiate and remove items of the budget bills, but only if the legislature agreed to remove the items he opposed. Dayton’s conditions for a Special Session included: getting rid of the tobacco tax break, canceling the estate tax changes and the C-1 property tax freeze, and eliminating the driver’s license ban. The legislature may be able to continue to operate, despite the Governor’s veto on its budget depending on how much funding is in the House and Senate reserve funds. Legal challenges are expected in order to determine if the Governor has the power to line item veto a legislature’s budget.

The Governor also vetoed the preemption bill, but that was expected. Links to all of the letters explaining the Governor’s decision in regard to the different budget areas can be found below.