Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a letter today to Attorney General Lori Swanson asking her to review “legal issues” raised by the just-passed federal health-care-reform package.
In his letter (PDF), Pawlenty notes that 12 attorneys general “have indicated they plan to file lawsuits to block impllmention” of the package.
“It appears Congress may be overstepping its bounds by forcing individuals or businesses to buy insurance,” the governor wrote. “I respectfully request that you review the legal issues being raised by this unprecedented federal mandate and join other attorneys general to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens. These efforts will help maintain a proper balance in the relationship between states and the federal government.”
The attorney general’s office, through spokesman Ben Wogsland, issued what felt like an in-your-face response to the Republican governor’s letter.
For the moment, the office of DFLer Lori Swanson, will not act on the governor’s letter, he said.
“The legislation in question still has to be signed by the President and reconciliation has yet to be passed by the Senate,’’ Wogsland said in the statement.
“The individual mandate does not go into effect until 2014. Our Office has not yet read and anaylyzed the 2,400-page bill that passed the House yesterday,” Wogsland said. “The Attorney General’s Office operates in the legal arena, and we are not going to make any legal comments until we have had the opportunity to review the 2,400-page bill.’’
The governor’s letter was being written at the same time that numerous DFL legislative leaders have been praising the action by the feds, saying, among other things, that if the reform becomes law, it will play a major role in helping Minnesota balance its budget.
It’s not clear how many governors will file suit, but in the South, Southwest and Mountain states there have been a number of threats and legislative resolutions opposing the federal action. In some states, there have been efforts to consider putting resolutions opposing the federal action on the ballot in November.