The status of the budget deal struck by top legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton appeared even more tenuous Thursday, as Dayton vociferously said he won’t sign the agreement until he receives a guarantee that legislators won’t amend the final bills.
Further complicating matters is the apparent lack of necessary votes in the Senate to pass the environmental protection bill. Sen. Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, faces much dissent within his caucus. Many members have come out against the legislation that they say will gut environmental protection, and he said he hasn't counted votes.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader David Hann, R-Hann, said he has so far only 10 senate votes for the bill. That’s a smaller number than the votes his caucus provided for the original environmental protection bill.
Dayton is expected to address DFL Senators Thursday afternoon in a final effort to secure the necessary votes to avoid a government shutdown. He strongly opposed legislators’ desires to spend more time digesting the bills and ability to offer amendments to the legislation.
Bakk said he’s “uncomfortable” signing away his caucus’ ability to amend bills. “It’s over for this round,” Dayton said.
He said that despite there being 19 days left until a deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, it’s unlikely legislation would improve enough to appease legislators.
“I have zero tolerance” for legislators who want to amend bills, Dayton said. He stressed that government shutdowns should not become routine in Minnesota, which has experienced two shutdowns since 2005.
(Photo: Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, Thursday at a news conference held at the governor's residence. Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune)