Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature are moving forward with a nearly $1 billion public works bill.
House and Senate negotiators voted on the bill Tuesday night, after making several parliamentary moves to bring back a bill that was on its way to Gov. Pawlenty for a certain veto. Negotiators changed the bill to include $47.5 million for the expansion of a sex offender treatment facility in Moose Lake, more money for the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester and improvements to a fence at a maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights.
An attempt to spend $15 million more on the expansion was defeated, leading one Republican to say Pawlenty would veto the bill. That prompted DFL Sen. Keith Langseth of Glyndon to criticize the Republican governor's negotiating style.
"This idea that you give me everything I want and then I'll do whatever I want with your bill is totally unacceptable. It is totally unacceptable," Langseth said.
Langseth and at least one other Democrat criticized Pawlenty for including a craft room, a spiritual center and a library in the expansion. They say the Moose Lake expansion shouldn't cost as much as Pawlenty's request of $89 million.
Republican Rep. Larry Howes said Pawlenty won't look too kindly on the bill, because it doesn't fully fund the Moose Lake expansion.
"I would have to again reiterate that the governor would veto the bill in its entirety and the house will uphold the veto," Howes said. "For the record, I just want to be clear."
Pawlenty has complained that the DFL bonding bill spends too much. Democrats say the GOP governor wants all of his projects in the bill, but won't give lawmakers any assurances that he won't line-item veto other projects.