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

September 08, 2017 08:38 PM

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Friday that Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of funding for the state legislature was constitutional, but the court ordered the two sides to enter mediation.

The court made clear that ruling Dayton's veto was constitutional "did not end the matter."


RELATED: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Legislature v. Dayton

The ruling states the governor and legislature must notify the court by Tuesday of the mediator the two sides have agreed to use. If they cannot come to an agreement, the court will appoint one.

Dayton released a statement following the ruling:

"I am very pleased that my Constitutional right to line-item veto certain appropriations for the Minnesota House and Senate, for FY 18and 19, was upheld by the Minnesota Supreme Court. I am also pleased that the Supreme Court ordered the Legislature and myself to 'participate in good-faith efforts to resolve this dispute through mediation.' I proposed just such a remedy, when I issued my veto letter on May 30, 2017. Instead, the Legislative Leaders chose to try to avoid this negotiated solution through litigation.

"I remain ready and very willing to engage in those negotiations immediately.  I have asked my legal team to contact their legislative counterparts to begin to resolve this matter."

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt also released a joint statement calling the parties into mediation:

"We are pleased today's order recognized Minnesotans' right to a functioning legislative branch of government. While we do not dispute the governor's line-item veto authority, the court order also recognized that "Constitutional powers may not be used 'to accomplish an unconstitutional result.'"

"Today's order did not decide the case or vacate the lower court's ruling, and we are ready to go to mediation to secure funding for the legislative branch of government. We worked in good faith in the past to attempt to breach this impasse, and will work in good faith again as we look ahead to the mediation process."

RELATED: Dayton Says He Will Appeal Judge's Ruling his Veto was Unconstitutional

Dayton zeroed out budgets for the House and Senate this spring while signing the remainder of a $46 billion budget. The Democratic governor wanted to use that funding as leverage to rework costly tax cuts and other provisions.

RELATED: Judge Rules in Favor of House, Senate in Lawsuit Against Dayton

A Ramsey County judge ruled in the legislature's favor in July.

Dayton had appointed four of the six Supreme Court justices presiding in the case.


Tom Hauser

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