Dayton vows to veto objectionable MNLARS bill

Gov. Mark Dayton is threatening to veto legislation to fix the MNLARS system if it takes money from state agencies' budgets. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is pledging to veto an emergency funding bill for the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS) if the House position prevails in upcoming negotiations.

Dayton is willing to accept the version that passed Monday in the Senate. He opposes the House version, which would provide $10 million while requiring the administration to cut an equal amount from other state agencies to pay for the fix.

Dayton told reporters Tuesday that he made his objections clear to Republican legislative leaders.

“There’s no justification whatsoever for taking that money from other state agencies,” Dayton said. “I will veto that measure if it’s in the bill. I will veto the bill, and then we’ll be done.”

Dayton continues to question whether Republican leaders want to fix MNLARS or keep the problem alive as a campaign issue.

Dayton said a veto would end the MNLARS discussion this session.

“We’ll just have to put MNLARS improvement on hold, and the next administration can take it over,” he said.

House Republicans say they want Dayton to take financial responsibility for the MNLARS mess. During Monday’s House debate, Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, the House transportation chair, said he would be holding firm to that position in negotiations with the Senate.

“We have a good, strong House position. I plan to defend it in conference committee,” Torkelson said.

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