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Political Notebook: Should governors be allowed to veto legislative funding?

November 21, 2017 GMT

Calls are growing among some area lawmakers to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would prohibit a governor from vetoing the legislature’s funding.

The push comes after DFL Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s $130 million operating budget in May. Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the governor’s veto, arguing the Legislature could tap into enough money to keep operating until at least Feb. 20 — the start of the 2018 session. Dayton vetoed the money in an attempt to pressure GOP legislative leaders to return to the negotiating table. He wanted to get rid of several provisions he reluctantly signed into law — including a number of costly tax breaks.

Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said the court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent for the future because it opens the door to other governors vetoing the Legislature’s funding over disagreements.

“We’re not co-equal anymore because I believe the precedent has been set that yes, it’s OK for a governor to veto legislative appropriations, and there are no consequences, and I think that puts the Legislature in almost a subservient position,” Senjem said.

He wants lawmakers to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit future governors from vetoing funding for the legislative or judicial branches of government. It would then be up to Minnesota voters to decide whether to approve it.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, agrees. He also wants to see the Legislature pass a constitutional amendment to protect legislative funding. On top of that, he is moving ahead with other bills aimed at protecting the Legislature’s funding. One bill would allow funding for the Minnesota Supreme Court to be used by the Legislature if its funding runs out. Another would assess executive agencies a fee that would help fund the Legislature.

“The governor’s office has let us down, and the courts have let us down. Now there’s two equal branches of government and one that’s not worth funding — according to the governor,” Davids said.

Where did Nelson stand on Trump before election?

During last week’s 1st District Republican debate, Sen. Carla Nelson repeatedly vowed to stand by President Donald Trump if she’s sent to Washington, D.C. Her rival, Blue Earth Republican Jim Hagedorn, attacked Nelson for not supporting the president prior to November 2016. He told the crowd of conservatives gathered in Albert Lea that he never has wavered in his support for Trump. Nelson responded by calling Hagedorn’s attack “desperate.”

So what was the Rochester senator’s position on Trump prior to the election? I wrote a n article that ran Oct. 12, 2016, asking area politicians about their support for Trump. At the time, Nelson told me Trump was not her first choice, and she condemned his behavior in a Hollywood Access tape where he bragged in lewd terms about groping and kissing women. She declined to say at that time whether or not she would vote for Trump.

“I know this is politically expedient for Democrats to try and drive this type of wedge, but I don’t think that’s their place, and it certainly isn’t my place to tell other people how to vote on other races. I’m focused on this race for the Minnesota Senate,” she said.

I also interviewed Hagedorn about Trump for the article. Hagedorn was vocal in his support for the Republican presidential nominee.

He said, “I certainly support him. I’m going to vote for him and would encourage other people to vote for him.”