The Minnesota Senate quickly passed the House version of bill to extend General Assistance Medical Care for another eighteen months. They took the action just hours after the Minnesota House passed the bill. The bill is now headed to Gov. Pawlenty for him to sign or veto the legislation.
The Senate's quick action on the bill is a surprise since DFL state Rep. Erin Murphy thought the House and Senate would have to negotiate their differences on it. GOP Sen. Julie Rosen also said Senate Republicans had no idea that they were taking a final vote on the bill today.
Part of the plan may be to jam Governor Pawlenty. Pawlenty is scheduled to be in Washington D.C. tonight (he has a CPAC reception at 7:30 EST) through Tuesday morning for the CPAC conference and the National Governors Association's Winter Meetings.
Under the Minnesota Constitution (Article 4, section 23) the governor has three full days to sign or veto the bill (that includes Saturday). Michelle Timmons with the Revisor's office said it's highly likely that her office will engross and present the bill to the governor's office today. That means Pawlenty will have Friday, Saturday and Monday to act on the bill. He has to file it with the Secretary of State's office and notify the body that the bill originated in (Senate) by midnight Monday.
If Pawlenty doesn't take action on the by that time, the bill will become law. The governor told reporters that he's returning to Minnesota on Tuesday morning. I'm checking to see how they'll handle the issue if it's sent to him.
Update: The governor's office could potentially send the bill to Washington D.C. for Pawlenty take action on it.
Tick tick tick...
Update: An official in the Minnesota House says the House Speaker and the President of the Senate signed the bill and it's now on its way to the governor's office.