Minnesota Senate Fears End of Funding

Possibility of Layoffs and Halt of Operations Rise in the MN Senate

Mark Dayton
Mark Dayton

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota Senate discussed in a recent statement the possibility and eventualities of the Senate not receiving funding due to Governor Mark Dayton’s line item veto.

Mediation failed. A plea by the Senate for the lower court to enforce its initial ruling and restore legislative appropriations has gone unanswered, and the Minnesota Supreme Court is slow to issue a ruling on the constitutionality of Dayton’s line item veto.

“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,”

On November 8, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader, Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa), issued a statement saying that the Minnesota Senate would be out of funds by December 1. The statement says that the Senate is going to make an effort to ask the Legislative Coordinating Committee (LCC) for carry forward funds in order to halt furloughs until January.

Without funding from the LCC the Minnesota Senate will be forced to lay off employees beginning on December 1, while per diem and mileage reimbursement will be suspended. The Senate building will be locked and constituents services will also be halted  on December 1.

“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,” Gazelka said of the layoffs.

In a press conference on the issue of funding asserted the necessity that the LCC continue to fund two offices, the office of the Legislative Auditor and the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. The auditor was deemed necessary in order to maintain Minnesota’s financial functions as well as forgo a significant drop in the state’s credit rating. The Revisor of Statutes was deemed necessary in order for the Senate to quickly pass an appropriations bill for next legislative session in order to return the Senate to normal functions.

“This has never happened before, I’m going to do my best to find a way through it. First thing we would do when we get back in session is get a budget,” Gazelka noted on this point.

“A proper respect for our co-equal branches of government counsels that we intervene in their dispute only when absolutely necessary,” the Minnesota Supreme Court decided in their comments on the dispute between Dayton and the legislature.

It has become ‘absolutely necessary’ for the court to weigh in,” Gazelka said firmly, “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.”

Henry Carras