Republican Legislative Leaders File Lawsuit Over Dayton's Line-Item Veto

June 13, 2017 05:46 PM

Do you agree with the decision by lawmakers to sue Gov. Mark Dayton over his line-item veto of funding for the Legislature?  Let these leaders at the capitol know your views!

Minnesota Republican Legislative leaders announced Tuesday morning they've filed a lawsuit against Gov. Mark Dayton's administration over legislative funding vetoes.


"In the end I don't think we're any closer to any solution," Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said after meeting with the governor Tuesday morning. "The House and Senate will move forward with a lawsuit."

At the end of the most recent special session, Dayton cut off the House and Senate's funding for 2018 and 2019 with a line-item veto in an effort to force Republicans to change some provisions in the budget bills he signed.

Dayton wants three changes in the tax bill along with changes to a teacher licensure reform measure and a provision regarding drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants.

"We don't have any resolution," Dayton said. "They're sticking to their position and I'm sticking to mine."

He vetoed $129 million for House and Senate operations, but allowed $17 million in funding for the Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC) to continue. The LCC oversees various commissions, councils and joint agencies.

RELATED: Gov. Dayton Invites Legislative Leaders to Negotiate Differences

The Legislature had also sent Dayton a measure that required his signature on a tax bill to prevent the Department of Revenue from losing funding in the future. Dayton called that a "sneak attack" and "poison pill."

House Speaker Kurt Daudt held up a copy of the lawsuit he provided to governor after a meeting between the two sides failed to produce a compromise. The lawsuit was filed about 11 a.m. Tuesday in Ramsey County Court and asks for a temporary restraining order.

"We did provide a copy of the complaint to the governor and to the legislative leaders as a courtesy," Daudt said to reporters.

RELATED: Behind the Slow Start, Messy Fallout of the Capitol Overtime

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Dayton will not move from his demands for a special session. He said Republican leaders won't give in either.

Gazelka said they tried to find an "off-ramp" from this constitutional battle over separation of powers, but couldn't do it.

Republicans say more than 450 staff members are in jeopardy of being laid off, but Governor Dayton says there's a way to avoid that. "The legislative leaders have the ability to come to the special session and resolve matters so those layoffs don't occur," Dayton said after the meeting with lawmakers.

Funding for Senate building is also in the Senate budget Dayton line-item vetoed. 

Republican lawmakers said Tuesday they'll prioritize people over buildings. Rather than lay off employees first, they'd stop payments on Senate building.

But they said missing payments could hurt the state's credit rating.


Tom Hauser

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