Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Our perpetually petulant governor - Part MMCCCXXXIX

In what is the final biennium budget he will see as Minnesota governor, Little Lord Fauntleroy Mark Dayton still had to make a scene.

Oh sure, he went ahead and signed off on the $46 billion budget passed by the Legislature last week. But the tax relief bill? Well, that's a little more complicated.

Dayton also said he would allow a tax relief package to become law without his signature, but chastised Republican lawmakers for adding what he called a "poison pill" provision to the bill that would have eliminated all Minnesota Department of Revenue funding if it were killed, a move the governor described as a "reprehensible sneak attack."

In response, Dayton used his power to eliminate spending for the House and Senate.

The gravity of that move wasn't immediately clear but it's certain to trigger a confrontation with GOP legislative leaders.

When asked about slashing legislative funding, Dayton told reporters, "Well, they can come back and get it restored .... we'll find out how much money they have stashed away" in reserve accounts.

So is Dayton implying the MN Legislature can have it's funding restored only if they come back to the table to re-work terms of the tax relief package? Seems to me the textbook definition of "extortion," no?

I digress.

The reason I emphasized the phrase "Dayton used his power" is because it appears that isn't Dayton's "power" to wield according to Harry Niska, a GOP candidate for MN Attorney General.

Governor Dayton's line-item veto of the entire budget for the Legislature is a blatant violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers. In fact, this is the quintessential example a law professor could use to demonstrate the concept: one branch cannot eliminate another branch simply because it disagrees with the decisions of that branch.

So how did the leading DFL candidate respond to this blatantly unconstitutional, partisan act? By lauding it as a "brilliant move."

This is why I'm running. The Attorney General must be someone who defends the Constitution, not someone who revels in the unconstitutional actions taken by their allies. We need an Attorney General who enforces and upholds the law for all Minnesotans.

So the "leading DFL candidate" for MN AG is a guy who in 2013 referred to a black U.S. Supreme Court justice as an "Uncle Thomas?" Brave new world.

Sorry. Another digression.

Does this mean another special session of the Legislature is pending? Maybe a lawsuit claiming Dayton violated the Separation of Powers? I don't know. But I definitely have some popcorn poppin'.


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