Besides our spray-tan-addicted Tweeter-in-Chief against basically everyone that breathes, another interesting political battle involving Governor Dayton squaring off against the Republican Minnesota Legislature has been going all summer. The battle centers around the Governor’s constitutional right to use the line-item veto the Legislature’s bills and budget funding. Ordinarily, if it was just a normal part of the budget, there would be no issue. This was not the case.
On the last day of the legislative year, Governor Dayton vetoed all funding for the Legislature itself. No salaries, no reimbursements, nada. He was quickly sued by the leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate.
Ordinarily, I am in favor of a strong executive, but this crosses the line. The difference between vetoing funding for, say natural resource protection and the Legislature itself is the idea of co-equal branches of government, one of the bases of our republic. To give a quick recap of civics, we have three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Each has checks and balances against the others in order to keep one from being too powerful, a stroke of genius by our Founding Fathers. Think of a three-legged bar stool. What happens if one of the legs breaks off, other than being a YouTube sensation?
What Governor Dayton is trying to do is make the legislature subservient to the executive, whether he realizes it or not. Due to a few disagreements about whether or not certain bills should be heard ones I would like to see passed, truth be told, the Governor has hurtled the State headfirst into a Constitutional crisis. Is the Legislature blameless? Absolutely not. They failed to act ethically in permitting bills to be voted on, which started this whole mess.
I would like to see the Governor call a special session of the legislature and then have the bills be voted on with the Legislature’s funding being restored without strings. That is how governing is supposed to work, regardless of how you feel about legislation. It is no wonder why so many of our fellow citizens are disillusioned with politics: it seems to be more child’s arguing than debate and vote on issues.
Governor Dayton, I am a fan of yours, but you are most at fault. This humble opinion writer would like you to recall the legislature and do the right thing. Mr. Speaker and Mr. Leader, I’d like you to give the bills a fair hearing and back off of this abyss, for the good of the State.