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No minimum wage increase in Minnesota

ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed an increase in Minnesota's minimum wage Thursday.

Pawlenty complained that the bill raises wages too much and that workers who receive tips, such as waiters and waitresses, should have a lower minimum wage.

The bill would have raised the minimum wage for large Minnesota companies to $6.75 an hour this summer, up 60 cents from current law. It would go up another $1 next year.

Smaller businesses would pay 50 cents more this summer, $5.75, and $6.75 in 2009.

Pawlenty said that even with the veto, federal minimum wage increases will boost Minnesotans' pay.

"I am willing to consider a bipartisan minimum wage bill next session if it allows for a reasonable increase, creates a tip credit and does not unduly burden Minnesota's employers and Minnesota's economy," the Republican governor wrote.

The bill's prime Senate sponsor was upset.

"I think the governor's let down the working people of Minnesota, who are trying to make ends meet," said Sen. Ellen Anderson, DFL-St. Paul.

Paint bill rejected

A plan to assess paint purchases to pay for paint recycling programs was vetoed Thursday, with Pawlenty saying residents already pay for paint recycling through local taxes.

"I am vetoing this bill because it imposes a second government-imposed payment on Minnesota consumers for this same purpose," Pawlenty wrote in a letter.

The bill authored by Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids, would have required paint manufacturers to establish paint recycling programs.

No new car standard

A Senate committee Thursday rejected an effort to make all cars sold in Minnesota conform to strict California emissions guidelines.

Supporters said the bill would have lowered motor vehicle emissions in the state 30 percent by 2016.

Seat belts unbuckled

An effort to allow law enforcement officers to stop motorists not wearing seat belts failed in the House.

Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, tried to amend the provision onto another bill. But House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, challenged whether it was germane to the original bill and fellow representatives agreed on a 78-55 vote.

State drug law

Pawlenty signed a bill Thursday that strengthens state law against illegally buying pharmaceuticals on the Internet.

The legislation is known as "Justin's Bill" because it was prompted by a Minnesotan's death from a drug overdose after he obtained a prescription online without a medical evaluation. The bill more clearly says what is required before a prescription is given.

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. He can be reached at (651) 290-0707 or