By Ricky Campbell
House Speaker Kurt Daudt holds a copy of the court papers he said would be filed Tuesday in the Legislature’s dispute with Gov. Mark Dayton over his line-item veto of House and Senate funding. Photo by Paul Battaglia
Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature are moving forward with their lawsuit against DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, believing the courts will settle a constitutional battle between the two branches of government after the governor line-item vetoed legislative funding for the upcoming biennium that begins July 1.
After hiring an outside legal team last week and closed-door talks Tuesday morning, lawmakers said they are filing the lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court against Dayton, who used the line-item veto May 30 as a way to bring Republicans back to the negotiating table for a number of provisions he already signed into law. The governor contends the Legislature used unfair tactics — tying Revenue Department funding in one bill with his signature on the tax bill — to force his hand.
In retaliation, Dayton struck funding for both the House and Senate operating budgets.
“If we’re going to do this, I’d rather settle it once and for all,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said after a closed-door meeting with Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) and House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park).