Lawsuit Claims Governor’s Line Item Vetoes Were Unconstitutional
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Republican legislative leaders today filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Mark Dayton’s use of line item vetoes to remove operational funds for the legislature from the next state budget.
The lawsuit also names Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans. The Republican lawmakers contend the governor exceeded his constitutional authority, describing his line item vetoes as a violation of the Separation of Powers Clause in the Minnesota Constitution. The lawsuit asks the courts to cancel the line item vetoes and restore the $130 million in funding for the legislature.
“The governor can’t defund the legislature whenever he disagrees with what we’re doing – that’s a clear violation of the constitutional separation of powers. The legislature is the voice of the people and that voice has been silenced with this line-item veto. Thankfully, Minnesotans will still reap the benefits of the rest of the budget, including tax relief and transportation funding, which is now signed into law,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.
In arguing their case, the legislative leaders also pointed out the governor’s action will strip the State Senate of the funds needed to make its monthly lease payments for the new Senate Office Building. The lawmakers say the resulting missed payments could cause a downgrade to the state’s credit rating.
The lawsuit was announced after Governor Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka met to discuss their disagreements. The governor says the intent of the line item vetoes was to push for lawmakers back to the bargaining table to rework some of the provisions of the tax and budget bills he signed into law last month.
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