ST. PAUL -- After four days on the sidelines of the state's budget crisis, and one night of zaniness as lawmakers tried in vain to give him their solution, Gov. Jesse Ventura was back in the game Friday.
Ventura finally took delivery of the Legislature's plan to patch a nearly $2 billion budget deficit, admitting he was looking for extra time to review the plan that lawmakers had tried so hard to give him a day earlier.
"You're darn right I wanted an extra day," Ventura said. "This is such an important bill, why wouldn't I?"
With a gloomier economic forecast imminent, lawmakers worried that a delay could have given Ventura more ammunition to cut spending on his own, a process called unallotment. But those worries seemed moot Friday when Ventura's finance commissioner said the forecast was essentially complete and could be released at any time.
And as Ventura himself pointed out: "If I wanted to unallot, I'd have already did it."
After Ventura was given the Legislature's plan, he met with House and Senate leaders to talk about it. And the leaders said afterward they understood some of Ventura's concerns and would work with him over the weekend to try to resolve them.
"Every session has its own personality. This one needs a sedative to settle it down a little bit," Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, D-Erskine, said of the craziness.
On Thursday, Ventura's office was locked when the Legislature's bill was carried there shortly before 5 p.m. Staffers tried and failed to track the governor down at his official residence and his Maple Grove ranch.
Excluding Sundays, a governor has three days from the time he's presented with a bill to sign it, veto it or let it become law by doing nothing.
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