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Reality Check: Minnesota Governors And Their Vetoes

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton’s controversial veto this week of the Republican second tax bill still has some GOP lawmakers fuming. It was the latest in an unusually high number of vetoes. But is Dayton that much different than previous governors? Here’s Pat Kessler’s Reality Check.

It’s only his second year, but Dayton is using his veto pen at a near record pace.

Dayton has vetoed 54 complete bills in two years, which is more than Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty did in his entire first term – and Pawlenty later made veto history.

Pawlenty holds the record for the most complete bill vetoes and line item vetoes in a single year: 88 in 2008.

And he’s also the veto king of Democrats.

Comparing apples to apples:

A governor of one party, and a legislature of another, Pawlenty vetoed 129 bills or line items from a DFL legislature in 2009 and 2010.

Since then, in 2011-12, Dayton vetoed 54 total Republican bills.

Governors seem to relish the veto: Gov. Arne Carlson had a “veto command center,” Gov. Jesse Ventura used a pig-stamp to veto pork, Pawlenty had a giant novelty pen and Dayton vetoes bills he has no right to — like constitutional amendments.

A veto is a governor’s tool, but it’s become a political weapon, too.

The vast majority of Minnesota governor vetoes since 1939 have come in just the last 10 years.

Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check.
All MN bills, all vetoes
Vetoes by Governor
History of Minnesota Veto

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