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Dayton: 'I don't expect to get everything I want' from the Legislature

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: May 14, 2014 - 5:11 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday admitted that, even as governor, he can't get everything he wants.

"I don't expect to get everything I want or I ask for," he said.

Dayton, like all governors, tends to have a lot of sway over what legislators pass. But he admitted some of the requests he issued on Monday may not come to be fulfilled.

Key among those requirements: that the Legislature not send him a statewide construction measure that includes a policy provision rescinding a mandate that new homes include sprinklers.

Dayton threatened to veto the entire construction measure if lawmakers dared include that provision, as the Minnesota Senate is itching to do.

When he first made the veto threat on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said the governor would have been well advised to inform legislative leaders of his desires before he shared them

"I was a little surprised that he would make that strong (of) a statement without expressing it to me first. I’m not too interested in negotiating a bonding bill through the press,” Bakk said at the time.

Dayton said on Wednesday that he had put the request in writing for leaders some time before he shared it with the press.

"I hope they don't send me a bill they know I'm going to veto. But if they do that's their responsibility," Dayton said.

Soon after Dayton repeated his request, there was a report sprinkler provision had been removed from the bonding bill. Update: A House-Senate compromise on the borrowing bill, released Wednesday afternoon, does not include any policy language.

But he may be less successful in getting two other things he wants.

On Monday, Dayton made two other asks of lawmakers. He said the Senate should vote on what he called "very common sense limits" on payday lenders and the House should take a vote on a campaign finance disclosure bill.

Leaders said those requests were not practical.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, said he was having trouble getting enough support for payday lending limits that are weaker than Dayton wants. Hayden said personally he would support stronger limits.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he would also support the campaign finance measure Dayton desires. But, he said, the House simply lacks the votes to send it to the governor.

"I would love that bill to pass but I don’t believe the votes are here on the House floor to do it,” Thissen said.

That leaves Dayton disappointed.

"It's so fundamental. It's basic to our democracy," the governor said. He wants political nonprofits and other groups that do not registered with the state's campaign watchdog agency to have to release details on their spending and donors.

That move is opposed by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state's largest anti-abortion organization, and the National Rifle Association. Both groups hold considerable influence in the DFL-controlled House. They say the disclosure legislation is unworkable and could curtail constitutional rights to free speech.

"There's no reason why MCCL and NRA can't disclose their contributors just like everyone else," Dayton retorted. "Tell the people of Minnesota where the money is coming from.

Asked if he would support requiring unions to disclose their donors, which could include rank and file members, Dayton said he would.

"If they're contributors, yes," Dayton said.

Currently, union political action committees disclose their sources of funding but that donor information largely lists the parent union's general fund. For example, Education Minnesota's PAC report in April says the group raised $260,000 in the previous three months. The source of the funding: "Education Minnesota."

The legislation the governor backs would likely add little detail to that disclosure.

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