Walz hails bipartisan cooperation as he signs his 1st bills

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed his first two bills Tuesday — one that pays for fixes to the balky state vehicle registration system and one that provides $102 million for public construction projects statewide.

Posted: Mar 5, 2019 3:25 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed his first two bills Tuesday — one that pays for fixes to the balky state vehicle registration system and one that provides $102 million for public construction projects statewide.

The Democratic governor said at the signing ceremony that the bipartisan support for the bills represented the "hard work of governance." He paid tribute to lawmakers from both parties who helped reach the compromises. And he called the effort "a real run, but one with some training wheels on it" for how they could reach deals to end the legislative session by the May 20 deadline.

"We came to a compromise in the best interest of Minnesota taxpayers and Minnesota citizens," Walz said. "We compromised and provided services across the breadth of the state, and we did so in a manner that's befitting to bipartisan common decency."

The bills marked the first "early wins" of the session, a goal set by the governor and legislative leaders of passing less-contentious legislation early to smooth the way for compromises later on over more difficult issues such as taxes and spending. The hope is for better working relationships among the new governor, the new House Democratic majority and Republicans who control the Senate. That would contrast the rancor that marred relations between the Republican legislative majorities and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in the 2017 and 2018 sessions.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the bills Walz signed show that the only Legislature in the United States at the moment where different parties control the House and Senate can function well.

The vehicle registration bill contains $13.3 million, including $5.7 million to keep contractors at work on fixing the MNLARS system, which has been a headache for vehicle buyers, sellers and owners since it went live in 2017. Separate legislation is advancing to provide about $10 million to the deputy registrars around the state that issue license plates and tabs and transfer vehicle titles, who've had to absorb the costs of trying to make the system work.

The $102.3 million public works borrowing bill will fund environmental and infrastructure projects around the state. It includes money to begin the cleanup of a landfill in Andover that's leaking hazardous chemicals. It also makes technical changes to fix flawed bill language from the 2018 session that has held up the expansions of U.S. Highway 14 from Owatonna to Dodge Center in southeastern Minnesota and Minnesota Highway 23 from New London to Paynesville in west-central Minnesota.

Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman called the borrowing bill a "correction" to action taken in the final hours last session.

Republicans who then controlled both chambers decided to finance the projects with money from an environmental trust fund that uses state lottery proceeds. The projects normally have been part of the main "bonding bill" of the session, which is financed through the state's general fund, but tapping the trust fund held down the price tag on the bigger bonding bill.

Several environmental and conservation groups sued, saying the maneuver amounted to an illegal raid on a trust fund that's not supposed to be used that way. The lawsuit held up the affected projects. Now that the projects will be funded the normal way, legislative leaders expect the case will be resolved.

"It was really an error that those important projects were put in jeopardy by being funded through ... a source that was never intended to be a source for bonding," Hortman said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 62303

Reported Deaths: 1724
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19677840
Ramsey7775269
Dakota4558106
Anoka3792115
Stearns291320
Washington219247
Olmsted178123
Nobles17736
Scott160822
Mower11072
Rice10428
Blue Earth9415
Wright9035
Carver8903
Clay79240
Sherburne73710
Kandiyohi7051
St. Louis60020
Todd4292
Lyon4253
Freeborn3601
Nicollet35113
Steele3512
Watonwan3281
Benton3233
Winona26516
Beltrami2490
Crow Wing24614
Le Sueur2301
Martin2095
McLeod2080
Chisago2071
Goodhue2029
Otter Tail1983
Cottonwood1770
Becker1611
Pipestone1589
Polk1564
Waseca1490
Itasca14612
Carlton1450
Douglas1442
Unassigned13346
Dodge1310
Isanti1310
Pine1290
Murray1241
Chippewa1091
Morrison931
Wabasha920
Brown892
Faribault890
Meeker872
Rock850
Sibley842
Koochiching803
Jackson790
Cass762
Pennington751
Mille Lacs723
Fillmore710
Renville675
Lincoln590
Grant563
Swift551
Roseau530
Yellow Medicine520
Pope480
Houston440
Aitkin401
Norman400
Kanabec372
Redwood360
Hubbard350
Wilkin353
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake220
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle80
Cook50
Lake of the Woods40
Kittson30

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49830

Reported Deaths: 948
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10535208
Woodbury375452
Black Hawk318066
Linn244588
Johnson212320
Dallas191335
Buena Vista179712
Scott175814
Dubuque172231
Marshall145226
Pottawattamie135029
Story118115
Wapello92733
Muscatine85748
Webster8428
Crawford7363
Sioux6503
Cerro Gordo64417
Warren5821
Tama55629
Jasper48427
Wright4781
Plymouth47412
Clinton4214
Dickinson3854
Louisa37814
Washington30510
Boone2663
Hamilton2521
Franklin24812
Bremer2317
Clarke2063
Clay2031
Carroll1962
Des Moines1942
Emmet1934
Shelby1871
Hardin1850
Marion1770
Floyd1633
Benton1601
Poweshiek1598
Allamakee1584
Jackson1581
Mahaska14217
Guthrie1375
Henry1364
Cedar1351
Jones1342
Buchanan1301
Butler1272
Madison1272
Delaware1231
Hancock1232
Humboldt1221
Lee1214
Lyon1192
Pocahontas1182
Cherokee1101
Harrison1101
Clayton1083
Taylor1000
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page960
Kossuth950
Mills931
Monona910
Palo Alto900
Winnebago890
Jefferson870
Calhoun862
Fayette860
Sac860
Osceola850
Cass821
Grundy821
Mitchell800
Union781
Monroe748
Lucas734
Worth680
Davis612
Montgomery604
Chickasaw560
Appanoose523
Howard500
Fremont440
Greene420
Keokuk391
Van Buren361
Adair340
Ida320
Audubon291
Decatur260
Ringgold231
Wayne201
Adams170
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Mason City
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 71°
Albert Lea
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Austin
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Sever storm chances return for Friday night
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

NSIC suspends athletic competitions through the end of the year

Image

IGCA releases all-state honorees

Image

Former Austin Bruin lands on pro roster

Image

Constituents come out to hear VP Pence

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Rochester Civic Theatre Unveils New Production

Image

Addressing Diversity in City Government

Image

Sara's 6pm Forecast - Thursday

Image

Restorative Justice for Veterans

Image

Unemployment claims lowest since March

Community Events