At Issue: June 11 - Constitutional Showdown Looming; Dayton, Republicans Trade Blame Over Lack of MSFA Reform

June 11, 2017 07:04 PM

Constitutional Showdown Looming Between Dayton, GOP Leaders; Meeting Set for Next Week

It still appears Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers are headed for a constitutional showdown. Dayton plans to meet with legislative leaders early this week to discuss coming back into special session in order to renegotiate parts of the $46 billion budget bill he signed into law last month. Dayton line-item vetoed funding for the Legislature to express his disgust with parts of the bill, including tobacco tax breaks he says will cost the state $300 million over 10 years and hinder efforts to get people to quit smoking. 

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Republican legislative leaders say the will not renegotiate the budget bills with Dayton and plan to sue him over his line-item vetoes defunding the legislature.

Who's to Blame for Lack of Action on MSFA Reform? Governor, GOP Lawmakers Trade Jabs

At the beginning of the session, one of the big topics lawmakers wanted to tackle was reforming the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the group that oversees U.S. Bank Stadium. The calls for reform came following reports that the MSFA Chair, CEO and board members invited friends and family members to Vikings games and events in the MSFA's private suite for free. The suite is supposed to be used exclusively for marketing purposes. 

Bills in the House and Senate would have made significant changes to how the MSFA is structured and what it is and isn't allowed to do. However, in the chaos of putting together a budget deal, those bills never made it through to Dayton's desk. 

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, authored the MSFA reform bill in the House. She blames the Dayton administration for getting in the way of a House/Senate compromise bill and causing it not to be passed before the end of the session. On Friday, Dayton fired back, calling those claims a "scurrilous lie." However, Republicans say transcripts and audio tapes from a May 19 conference committee hearing show Minnesota Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans suggesting that there was no need for a bill because the MSFA could implement many of the changes required in the bill on its own. 

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Amanda Theisen

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