Cheers and Jeers as Dayton Signs Final 51 Bills into Law
It was supposed to be a series of formalities. But when Gov. Mark Dayton put his signature on the final bills left on his desk on Friday, he may have started a few brand new battles.
There were no grand, formal bill signings on Friday. But just because you can't hear them doesn't mean there weren't cheers -- and a few jeers -- prompted by the governor's signature.
Dayton signed the $250 million higher education bill, which includes a two-year tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota and other public colleges. But he used a line-item veto to nix a $1.5 million dollar grant for Teach For America, a nonprofit that sends college grads to teach inner-city students.
Critics claim Dayton bent to pressure from the teacher's union. But Dayton took exception with how the money was awarded, with "no competitive grant program" and "no objective review" by independent experts.
The controversial day care unionization bill is also now a law, giving home day care providers the right to vote on whether to form a union. An attorney for union opponents sent a letter to the governor just before he signed, calling the bill "unlawful and unconstitutional," and threatening a lawsuit. That is now a certainty. So the day care debate will now shift to the courtroom.
Also signed into law: A slimmed down, $177 million bonding bill, with $109 million for the renovation of the State Capitol; the Homeowner's Bill of Rights, which increases protections against foreclosure, and $1.75 million in disaster assistance for southwest Minnesota, hit hard by last month's ice storm.
The governor signed 51 bills in all on Friday. And with that, he is done. Every bill from this legislative session has either been signed into law or is officially dead.