Dayton Walks out of Mediation with Legislature

Where does this leave things?

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Mark Dayton
Mark Dayton

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Resolution on the impasse between the Minnesota Legislature and Governor’s office remains murky after Gov. Mark Dayton reportedly walked out of court ordered mediation with the legislature on Friday.

According to the Pioneer Press, Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said that Dayton accused Republicans of lying throughout the legislative session and throughout the court case. Much of Dayton’s anger seemed to hinge on the fact that it was revealed that the legislature would be able to limp to the next legislative session in February with the funds from its reserves and the money granted by the Ramsey County District Court. In Dayton’s opinion, this was contrary to the position lawmakers had presented throughout the trial of the legislature being in danger of dissolution.

Senate Majority Leaders Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) was firm in defending the suit

“The governor can not defund the House and Senate. That’s the issue. The issue is not how far we can run,” Gazelka said at a post mediation press conference.

He also stated that their was no deception in the funding amount.

“June was the first time we worked with MMB about what kind of dollars the Senate had, and at that time we showed we had around $4 million available of carry forward. That, starting July 1 would not have ever gotten us to next session,” Gazelka said.

However, the numbers were redone in the last few weeks and revealed that the number was around $6 million.

“There was no deception there from MMB or from us, we were just taking the numbers we had to come to a conclusion,” Gazelka said.

In a public statement, the mediator of the case Rick Solum said, “I concluded that the mediation was at impasse, the understandable views of the parties being irreconcilable.” This sentiment was mirrored in the documentation which officially ended the mediation between the parties.

While mediation may have failed, the case could proceed in a variety of directions from here. The Minnesota Supreme Court has not given a final ruling and the case may end up going back to the state’s highest court for a final ruling. Questions on the court’s ability to issue appropriations are still in dispute, as well as the constitutionality of Dayton’s veto under the circumstances. With the relief from the district court having not been overturned and with recent numbers in mind, it would seem that the legislature is, for now, safe from being dissolved prior to the next session.

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