Deadline nixed

Rep. Tony Sertich

Democrats and GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty exchanged blame for missing a Thursday deadline to negotiate budget bills.

The House and Senate repealed a self-imposed midnight Thursday deadline to finish negotiating finance bills that fund a number of state budget areas.

The Legislature has sent three relatively small finance bills to Pawlenty, with the biggest spending bills yet to be resolved.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich said committee deadlines helped to speed up the legislative process, but the only deadline that matters is the Legislature’s May 18 constitutional adjournment.

The Legislature is ahead of schedule, but some budget negotiations have been delayed at Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s request, Sertich said.

Pawlenty said he delayed a meeting about the public safety funding bill for one day so he could attend a flood-prevention meeting in Washington. Otherwise, he said, he has not sought any delays.

"It seems like a mismanagement of time," Pawlenty said about how legislators blew by their deadline.

Pawlenty said he fears a special session may be needed to finish budget work. "The risk of that happening is increasing by the hour."

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