Pawlenty Prepares Veto #101 for Health Care Bill

Governor begins 8th year in office with 100 vetoes under his belt and a policy agenda undaunted by large DFL legislative majorities

After the Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly passed a $284 million bill Thursday to restore General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) to approximately 85,000 Minnesotans for 16 months, Governor Tim Pawlenty indicated he would once again unholster his veto pen, which he has already drawn 100 times during his first seven years in office.

Pawlenty made his intentions clear regarding GAMC funding last year, when he issued a line item veto of a $381 million appropriation for GAMC in the omnibus health and human services finance bill on May 14th.

The DFL attempted to override that veto, but the measure failed three days later on May 17th by three votes, 87-47.

While the House of Representatives passed the funding measure Thursday on a bipartisan 125-9 vote, Republican Minority Leader Kurt Zellers released a statement later in the evening that his caucus will uphold Governor Pawlenty’s forthcoming veto.

According to data culled by Smart Politics from the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, only 9 percent of gubernatorial vetoes in the Gopher State have seen an override attempt by the legislature since 1939 – or 46 attempts out of 511 vetoes.

Of these 46 attempts, 32 have failed, with 14 (2.7 percent of all vetoes) successfully overturning the governor’s veto. Twenty-six of these 32 failed attempts stalled in the House of Representatives.

Only 1 of Pawlenty’s 100 vetoes has been overridden, with just four attempts by the DFL-controlled legislature to date.

Pawlenty currently ranks 2nd out of the 14 governors who have served the Gopher State since 1939 for both total number of vetoes (100), and the average number of vetoes per year in office (14.3).

Former Republican Governor Arne Carlson (179 vetoes, 22.4 per year) ranks first in both categories.

A higher percentage of Pawlenty’s vetoes were full bill vetoes (78 percent, 78 of 100), compared to those issued by Governor Carlson (71 percent, 127 of 179).

Vetoes by Minnesota Governors, 1939-2010

Governor
Party
#
Per year
Override attempts
Overrides
Arne Carlson
GOP
179
22.4
12
0
Tim Pawlenty
GOP
100
14.3
4
1
Jesse Ventura
Reform
54
13.5
14
9
Al Quie
GOP
31
7.8
6
2
Luther Youngdahl
GOP
27
4.5
4
1
Harold Stassen
GOP
25
4.2
0
0
Karl Rolvaag
DFL
22
5.5
0
0
Rudy Perpich
DFL
20
2.0
1
0
Wendell Anderson
DFL
19
3.2
0
0
Orville Freeman
DFL
11
1.8
1
0
Harold LeVander
GOP
9
2.3
2
1
C. Elmer Anderson
GOP
7
3.5
0
0
Elmer Andersen
GOP
4
2.0
1
0
Edward Thye
GOP
3
1.5
1
0
Total
 
511
7.2
46
14

Data compiled from Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.

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