Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Tuesday evening that would have given administrative law judges final decision-making authority over state agency heads when it comes to settling disputes.

Right now, judges hear disputes between agencies and outside parties and make a recommendation to the agency head. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan, would have given the judge the final say.

“If enacted into law,” the governor wrote in a letter to House Speaker Kurt Zellers, the bill would “confuse decision-making, lessen accountability and needlessly increase the cost of government. It would do so without evidence of abuse in the present system.”

Wardlow, however, had argued that it is unfair that state agencies get to write the rules, enforce the rules and also punish people and businesses that break those rules. In floor debate earlier this month, he described his bill as an attempt to battle Minnesota’s “ever burgeoning, growing, administrative state.”

“It asks the question, do we trust the people of Minnesota with self-government? Do we trust their representatives to govern?” he said during floor debate on the vote on March 1. “Or do we trust things to administrative agencies and so-called experts, technocrats.”

The bill passed the state Senate last week by a vote of 36-28 and passed the state House the week before by a vote of 70-62.

The governor did sign three new bills into law: a bill that modifies thelate fees that a landlord can charge and delays eviction dates under certain circumstances; a bill that clarifies property rights for people with real estate licenses; and a bill thatallows property that is detached from a city to become part of an unincorporated town.

All three bills passed the Legislature with unanimous support.

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