Minutes ago, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced that the Minnesota Senate is suspending operations. Specifically, his statement says “Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka announced today the Minnesota Senate will run out of money on December 1, 2017 unless new funding becomes available or the courts restore the legislative appropriation vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.”
Sen. Gazelka continues, saying ““We don’t take the suspension of operations of the Minnesota Senate lightly – this is not a game – but we really have no other choice today. The Senate is running out of money due to Governor Dayton’s veto of our appropriation. Even though we prevailed in our lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court, the Governor refuses to recognize that order and is forcing us to spend down our carry forward.”
It’s worth noting that the Senate isn’t the only institution affected by Gov. Dayton’s petulant behavior. The statement highlights the fact that “The office of the Legislative Auditor is funded through the LCC. Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles has already expressed concerns about certain functions of his office being suspended – specifically the certification of state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.”
This is the Supreme Court’s moment of truth. They punted, leaving many unresolved questions. One thing they said in their ruling was that Minnesotans had the right to a “fully-functioning legislature.” As part of the legislative branch, the OLA has the obligation to certify “state financial reports that support the state’s credit rating and the receipt of federal funds.”
Sen. Gazelka added this reminder to his statement:
“Further, a proper respect for our co-equal branches of government counsels that we intervene in their dispute only when absolutely necessary. It has become ‘absolutely necessary’ for the court to weigh in. The people of Minnesota will no longer have a voice in the legislative branch after the first of the year, not to mention the pain inflicted on our employees.”
That’s from the Court’s ruling. The question now is whether the Court will enforce the principles it stated in its rulings. If they don’t, I’ll know that they’re just DFL politicians in black robes. I’ll know that they aren’t jurists making rulings based on the Constitution. I’ll know that they’re politicians first.
Finally, there’s this:
The Office of the Revisor of Statutes is also funded through the LCC and they work year-round with state agencies on rule making authority. The Revisor’s office would also be necessary to draft a bill to restore legislative functions once session begins in February.
It’s time for the Supreme Court to issue a ruling. Their spineless dithering put the state in this mess. It’s time they stopped their dithering and did their jobs as jurists.