Pawlenty confident agreement can be reached on $1B projects billby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A $1 billion construction projects bill is on a fast track through the Minnesota Senate.
The key Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote on the bill on Friday, just a day after it was unveiled.
Governor Pawlenty says he thinks he can reach an agreement with the Legislature on the bill, which is roughly $300 million more than he proposed. The governor criticized Democrats on his weekly radio show for focusing on arts building and local projects instead of a sex offender treatment facility.
"One of the biggest parts of my bill is $100 million for a facility to expand the capability the state has to keep dangerous sex offenders locked up or confined in this case for civil commitment after they served their prison sentences," Pawlenty said. "The Democrats have money, a billion dollars, a huge bonding bill, for all kinds of stuff but they don't have money for that in terms of priorities."
Majority Democrats are aiming to have the full Senate take up the bonding bill on Tuesday. The legislation would have the state borrow money for college buildings, civic centers, sewer upgrades and other projects throughout the state.
Sen. Keith Langseth, a Democrat from Glyndon who sponsored the bonding bill, says quick approval would let projects get started when the ground thaws and put unemployed people to work.
Lawmakers urged the governor to use his line item veto authority rather than vetoing the entire bill if he disagrees with them on specific projects.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)