Mediation Over Legislative Funding Set for this Week, Details Kept Under Wraps

September 20, 2017 11:33 AM

The governor's office has shed a little light onto the mediation process aimed at averting a legislative funding impasse.

The issue was spurred by Gov. Mark Dayton's line-item veto of nearly $130 million of the Legislature's operating budget, which kicked of a months-long legal battle. The state Supreme Court last month ruled the Dayton's veto was constitutional, but urged the matter wasn't yet settled and ordered the sides to enter into mediation.

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RELATED: State Supreme Court Rules Dayton's Veto of Legislative Funding Constitutional; Orders Mediation

A mediator was selected last week to help resolve the dispute between Dayton and top Republicans in the Legislature. 

In an email to media Wednesday, the governor's office issued a statement on behalf of the mediator, retired Hennepin County District Judge Rick Solum, which said the mediation will be held Thursday and Friday at the offices of Solum's former law firm.

Solum confirmed the mediator and law firms will bill at a government rate that's half of what they would bill for commercial mediation. The fee, which amounts to $257 per hour, will be split evenly between Solum and the law firms which engaged him, the statement says.

The statement says neither side will comment on the details of the mediation until it is concluded.

RELATED: GOP Legislature Warns it Could Soon Run Out of Money if No Agreement With Dayton Reached

Solum has previously served as mediator in a number of high-profile cases, including a dispute over the value of the land Target Field was built on and a dispute over the buyout for former Minnesota Gophers basketball coach Clem Haskins. 

Dayton used the line-item veto to force the Republican-controlled House and Senate to rework major tax bill provisions and other measures he signed into law earlier this year.

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Michael Oakes

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