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Dayton vetoes four bills with one day left in session

ST. PAUL—Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed four bills, including some that received quite a bit of attention.

Most of his Saturday, May 19, actions were expected.

One was a bill Republicans pushed to allow Enbridge Energy to construct a replacement for its northern Minnesota Line 3 crude oil pipeline. Republicans said the bill is needed because Enbridge is ready to go and there is no need to wait for the Public Utilities Commission to approve it.

The commission is expected to consider the pipeline next month.

Dayton said he vetoed it because the commission is supposed to make "complex and controversial" decisions like that.

"This bill eliminates the input of thousands of Minnesotans who have participated in the process by attending public meetings and hearings, writing comments or otherwise engaging in the process just a month before a decision is scheduled to be made by the PUC," Dayton wrote in his veto letter. "This bill is a crass and foolhardy attempt by the Legislature to destroy the integrity and the intelligence of the existing, statutory decision-making process."

The Democratic governor also vetoed a bill to reimburse deputy registrars for their expenses in dealing with the problem-filled motor vehicle license and registration software system known as MNLARS.

He said that while he supports paying the registrars, the bill "does not comprehensively address fixing the MNLARS system." He wanted $33 million to fix the software, but that was not included in the legislation.

The third bill Dayton vetoed would have increased penalties for protesters convicted of blocking access to highways, airports and transit. He long has said he would sign a bill about highways and airports, but in his veto letter he said he cannot accept "broad transit provisions."

The bill does not clearly define the crime, Dayton said.

Finally, Dayton rejected a bill that would have required legislative approval for water permit fees, most of which have not been raised since 1992. The Pollution Control Agency is trying to balance the various water fees it collects, Dayton said.

The governor called the bill "inappropriate legislative overreach."

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.