Dayton's Defunding of Legislature Overturned by Court

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 20, 2017

Gov. Mark Dayton violated the Minnesota Constitution when he vetoed funding for the Minnesota House and Senate this year, a Ramsey County judge ruled Wednesday. "However, if he chooses to appeal, we will continue to defend Minnesotans' constitutional rights to locally elected representation all the way to the Supreme Court".

Top Republicans welcomed the ruling, noting that Dayton's veto caused uncertainty for hundreds of lawmakers and staffers.

Daudt said late Wednesday afternoon that he's "disappointed" that the governor is "refusing to accept" the court's decision, and has chosen to appeal this case. Daudt said he is willing to "start fresh".

House Speaker Kurt Daudt. "The Stipulation, which the House, Senate, and I filed with the District Court Judge in June, states, 'The parties agree to jointly seek accelerated review by the Minnesota Supreme Court of the District Court's order or judgment.' Accordingly, I have asked Sam Hanson, my legal counsel, to appeal this decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court".

In a statement, Dayton didn't criticize the ruling's logic.

The ruling is a major blow against the DFL governor's attempt to force Republican legislative leaders to renegotiate certain aspects of the state budget finalized in May, particularly some tax cuts that Dayton says are excessive. He also found that the Dayton veto was problematic because he didn't object to the Legislature's funding in itself - he was merely using it as leverage to get other concessions.

"The court concludes that the Governor's vetoes violated the Separations of Powers clause. because they both nullified a branch of government and refashioned the line-item veto tool to secure the repeal or modification of policy legislation unrelated to the vetoed appropriation", he wrote.

"Today the court ruled an entire branch of government can not be eliminated by a stroke of the governor's pen, said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa".

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