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Articles like this one verify something that I’ve suspected since the Supreme Court’s initial ruling in the Legislature’s lawsuit against Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto fiasco. It verifies that these justices are either spineless or they’re politically motivated.

Last week, the Supreme Court “demanded more answers about the budget clash between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature.” The article continues, saying “To be clear, the court requires specific statements that identify all funds the Legislature may use,” said the Thursday order, signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. The word ‘all’ in her order was in italics.”

That’s a dodge. With all due respect to Chief Justice Gildea, that’s BS. That’s because this doesn’t settle the constitutional issue raised when Gov. Dayton used his line-item veto to cripple the legislative branch. The question that the Court hasn’t addressed is whether Gov. Dayton’s constitutional authority is absolute. Sam Hanson, Gov. Dayton’s attorney, insisted that it is. That’s BS. Frankly, he should have his license suspended for making such a bad faith argument.

First, finding out how much money the legislature has isn’t relevant because Gov. Dayton vetoed the legislature’s operating budget for the entire biennium. Next, finding out how much money the legislature has doesn’t determine whether the people have the right to a fully functioning legislative branch. The Supreme Court has essentially ruled that a governor’s authority to control a budget is greater than the people’s right to be represented.

If the Supreme Cowards Court doesn’t rule expeditiously on this aspect of the fight, Minnesotans should consider impeaching these justices for not upholding the Constitution. Any black-robed idiot that thinks a governor’s budgetary authorities are more important than the people’s right to representation needs to be impeached because their thinking is totally screwed up. They’re incapable of thinking things through.

Chief Justice Gildea, if you won’t stand up for the people’s right to representation, then you’ll have to go. Ditto with the other justices that voted with you.

UPDATE: I just sent the Supreme Court of Minnesota this email:

I’ve written something about the Supreme Court’s unwillingness (thus far) to issue a FINAL RULING on whether a governor’s right to a line-item veto is more important than the people’s right to representation at the state capitol.

It’s time to make a final ruling on which constitutional provision is most important.

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To: Speaker Daudt, Sen. Gazelka
From: Gary Gross, Chief troublemaker, Uppity Peasants Brigade
Subject: Gov. Dayton standoff

Gentlemen, I’m proud of you for standing your ground in this fight against Gov. Dayton. Don’t renegotiate the tax bill that Gov. Dayton signed. Instead, tell Gov. Dayton that you’ll broadcast the fact that Gov. Dayton and the DFL didn’t put a high priority on serving their constituents.

Instead of renegotiating the tax bill, the House should immediately submit a clean funding bill that funds the legislature for the rest of the biennium. Pass it ASAP, then send it to the Senate. If Gov. Dayton vetoes the clean funding bill, I’d schedule an override vote immediately. If the House or Senate votes to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, tell each outstate DFL legislator that voted to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto that they’d better prepare for the onslaught of advertising that’s heading their direction. Tell these DFL legislators that their constituents will hear that they voted against the GOP tax relief package for farmers, small businesses and the middle class. Tell these DFL legislators that their constituents will hear about their votes to keep the legislature shut down, too.

Let them know that voting with Gov. Dayton will come at a political price.

Gentlemen, tell the DFL that listening to their special interest allies will cost them bigtime this election cycle. Gov. Dayton told Tom Hauser that he wants to drag you back to the negotiating table because he’s worried that the government might run a deficit. Like you, I’ve paid attention to Gov. Dayton’s message from the start of his administration until his lame-duck year. Not once has Gov. Dayton or his DFL allies said a thing about being worried that families have enough to put a roof over their head, save for retirement or for their children’s college education or help meet their bills.

Thanks for standing tall. Thanks for not letting Gov. Dayton’s special interest allies bully you. Keep up the good work.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Paul Gazelka’s Strib op-ed in this post but I missed Speaker Daudt’s op-ed. I’m upset with myself that I did. That’s because Speaker Daudt’s op-ed opened my eyes to something that I hadn’t considered previously.

The first paragraph that caught my attention was when Speaker Daudt wrote “That’s why at the end of the last legislative session, I was so proud of the historically productive results we achieved. A Republican-led House and Senate worked with our Democratic governor and balanced the budget while investing a historic amount into roads and bridges; boosted funding to our schools; passed Real ID enabling Minnesotans to travel; lowered health insurance premiums; and reduced taxes for millions of Minnesotans. Most important, we did it together.”

Lots of people have written about the fact that this was a productive session. There’s no disputing that fact. The paragraph that got my undivided attention was where Speaker Daudt wrote “The Legislature didn’t get everything it wanted, and the governor didn’t get everything he wanted. But in working alongside one another, we brought the session to a productive conclusion. Then, perhaps after hearing complaints from members of his own party, Gov. Mark Dayton expressed second thoughts about the compromises he had negotiated. Despite personally having agreed to each and every one of the bills, including the amount and provisions within the tax relief bill, the governor tried to go back on his word. He line-item-vetoed funding for the Legislature in an attempt to force us back to the negotiating table.”

Think about that a split-second. Neither the governor nor the legislature got everything they wanted but they negotiated a deal that both supposedly could live with. After Gov. Dayton agreed to the size of the tax relief bill and the provisions in it, the legislature passed the bill and sent it to Gov. Dayton. Despite the agreement and the fact that Gov. Dayton got lots of the things he’d prioritized, Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature.

Gov. Dayton said he vetoed their funding to coerce the legislature into renegotiating the Tax Bill. I’m betting that isn’t why he vetoed it. I’m betting that his special interest allies told him that they were vehemently opposed to the tax bill for ideological reasons. In 2011, Gov. Dayton reneged on a budget agreement he’d negotiated with then-Speaker Zellers and then-Senate Majority Leader Koch. They reached an agreement. They returned to their caucuses to tell them they had a deal. When they returned to Gov. Dayton’s office, they learned that Rep. Thissen and Sen. Bakk talked Gov. Dayton into reneging on the deal that he’d agreed to and initialed.

There’s a significant part of Gov. Dayton that simply can’t sign a bill unless he’s certain he’s getting the better end of the agreement. He’s simply too rigid. That’s why 3 of the 4 budget sessions during Gov. Dayton’s time in office required a special session. What’s particularly upsetting is that Gov. Dayton won’t admit that he’s attempting to preserve his bargaining leverage when the legislature returns in February. Both sides know that the legislature has some reserve funds that they can use but they both know that it isn’t enough to fund the legislature for the rest of the biennium.

It’s also upsetting to hear Gov. Dayton accuse the legislature of lying to him and to the Supreme Court:

Gov. Dayton needs to quit with his my-way-or-the-highway shtick. It’s getting old.

If there’s anything that comes through in Paul Gazelka’s op-ed, it’s that Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka won’t hesitate in questioning Gov. Dayton’s statements.

Sen. Gazelka proved that when he wrote “The governor abruptly ended mediation, accusing us of lying to him. I strongly disagree but decided it was best to let it pass and try to get back to the good working relationship we had forged during the session. But now that he has publicly stated again that I had been dishonest about the Senate’s position and that our team did not act in good faith, I have no choice but to defend the Senate. The members and staff (both partisan and nonpartisan) of the Minnesota Senate have acted honorably, even in the shadow of the governor’s attempt to defund our branch of government. All of us continually look for ways to end the impasse and stay true to the Constitution’s declaration that the legislative body share power with the executive branch.”

Next, Sen. Gazelka crystallized the issue ultimately facing the legislature, saying “Apparently, our updated report to the court upset the governor once he realized his leverage over the legislative branch was temporarily weakened. Whether it happens next month or next February, the fact remains that because of the governor’s veto, the Minnesota House and Senate will run out of money long before the two-year biennium ends.”

What I’ve repeatedly and consistently said on LFR is that, ultimately, the Supreme Court needs to resolve this constitutional balancing act. They’ve already ruled that the line-item veto is constitutional. They’ve also ruled that governors can’t use a constitutional tool to achieve an unconstitutional result. Finally, they ruled that the people of Minnesota have the right to 3 fully functioning branches of government.

There’s only one ruling that would satisfy each of those parts of the Supreme Court’s ruling. If they want to satisfy their statements, they have to rule that Gov. Dayton improperly used a constitutional tool. By voiding Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto, they’d allow the entire bill to pass. After all, Gov. Dayton approved the rest of the bill.

I’m disappointed in the governor’s tone and accusations that we were dishonest. I’m frustrated that, unlike any other governor in Minnesota’s history, Gov. Dayton wiped out funding for the legislative branch, and I’m disheartened that I even have to defend my team in the public arena. But it’s important for the public to know the governor’s public comments on this matter are not accurate.

Sen. Gazelka, lots of Democrats likely agree that Gov. Dayton overstepped his bounds. They just can’t say that publicly.

In this fight, Gov. Dayton hasn’t been 100% honest. It’s a shame he wasn’t. I said at the time of the Supreme Court’s ruling that Gov. Dayton’s actions weren’t in good faith. I’ve always been able to say that Sen. Gazelka’s actions have been in good faith.

When Paul Gazelka stepped to the podium at Friday’s press conference, one of the first things Sen. Gazelka said was “both mediation and why we sued was because the governor can’t defund the House and the Senate. That’s the issue. The issue isn’t how far we can run. We have a 2-year budget that we have to fund that we have to fund all the way to July, 2019.” I hadn’t seen this press conference but I’m happy that I’m on the same wavelength as Sen. Gazelka. I wrote about that identical principle earlier this week.

Another thing that caught my attention happened when Sen. Gazelka said “We went back in our notes and found that the governor absolutely said that he’d support the tax bill as is on the Saturday before the end. It would have been a shock had he not signed that bill.” Let’s examine that a minute.

In 2011, GOP legislative leaders met with Gov. Dayton on June 30 to make a final attempt at reaching a budget deal before the midnight end of the biennium. When Gov. Dayton agreed to a budget deal that didn’t include tax increases, legislative leaders went back to their caucuses to tell them that they’d hammered out a deal that didn’t include tax increases. When Speaker Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch returned to Gov. Dayton’s office, Gov. Dayton told GOP leadership that he’d rejected the deal that he’d initially signed off on.

After a 2-week shutdown, Gov. Dayton agreed to the budget that the GOP leadership had proposed on June 30. When he finally accepted the deal, Gov. Dayton admitted that he didn’t realize Republicans had stripped out the controversial language from their proposal.

This year, Gov. Dayton signed off on the GOP Tax Relief Bill. Now he wants the GOP to renegotiate their tax relief bill in exchange for him signing a bill funding legislative operations. Sound familiar? If you answered yes, it’s because Gov. Dayton has shown a habit of reneging on deals that he’s initially signed off on.

Here’s the GOP press conference from last Friday:

I’d recommend watching Gov. Dayton’s’ press conference, too. Watch the difference between Gov. Dayton’s attitude and GOP leadership’s attitude. Gov. Dayton looked peevish and petulant. Speaker Daudt and Sen. Gazelka looked like adults.

Like in other years, GOP leadership will be waiting to pass a bill to restore funding for the legislature when the legislature opens in February. It’s still debatable whether Gov. Dayton will sign that bill. If Gov. Dayton vetoes it, Speaker Daudt should immediately schedule an override vote. Let’s see if DFL legislators would vote to not fund themselves. If they stick with Gov. Dayton, rural DFL legislators should expect to be tied to Gov. Dayton. They should also start writing their concession speeches or their retirement speeches.

If the DFL sides with Gov. Dayton, it will be proof that they’re Democrats first and that representing their constituents ranks way down their list of priorities.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Minnesota Supreme Court ran interference for him today. Though MPR’s article on this morning’s oral arguments doesn’t highlight it, Justices Lillehaug and Hudson asked some questions of Doug Kelley. Kelley represented the legislature in this matter.

Justice Lillehaug and Justice Hudson “pressed Doug Kelley, the attorney for the Legislature, on why legislative leaders adjourned their special session without waiting for Dayton to act on the bills they passed.” That isn’t a constitutional question. That’s a political question.

When Kelley tried talking about Dayton’s reason for line-item vetoing the legislature’s biennial budget, Lillehaug insisted that going into a person’s motives were off-limits. In this situation, though, Lillehaug didn’t think asking about the legislature’s adjournment was off-limits. If the legislature’s motives for adjourning were fair game, Gov. Dayton’s motives for his line-item veto should be fair game, too.

Gov. Dayton’s reason for vetoing the legislature’s budget is relevant because Gov. Dayton wanted to tip negotiations into his favor. Complicating matters is the fact that the legislature and Gov. Dayton had signed a contract specifying that there wouldn’t be any amendments to any of the bills, that the dollar figures and policy provisions were fixed and the legislative language was read before the contract was signed.

In many ways, then, the agreement is a legally binding contract. Gov. Dayton vetoing the legislature’s funding with a line-item veto is breaking that contract. The legislature had agreed to compromise on some of their priorities if Gov. Dayton compromised on some of his priorities.

Once the caucus leaders and Gov. Dayton signed that contract, the implication is that signing bills that lived up to the contract was expected as part of that agreement.

The biggest worry that the legislature has is that Gov. Dayton’s appointees will side with him out of political loyalty, not because that’s what the Constitution demands. Simply put, the worry is that they’re Democrat operatives first and that ruling on the side of the Constitution is a distant priority.

From an historical and biographical perspective, Lillehaug is a hardline progressive:

Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka should reject Gov. Dayton’s proposal to ‘reform’ health care by going to a single-payer plan. The article starts by saying “A new form of health insurance could be available next year to Minnesotans in the individual health insurance market if a proposal by Gov. Mark Dayton gains approval of state legislators and the federal government.”

While that excites hardline progressives, aka socialists, like John Marty, the vast majority of legislators (including Democrats) will reject single-payer health care. That’s because it’s failed each time it’s been tried. Mssrs. Daudt and Gazelka should investigate the numbers that Gov. Dayton is pushing because they aren’t credible. According to the article, “The new public option would be available to most Minnesotans for an average price of $469 per month, about 12 percent less than the $538 monthly premium for private insurance in 2017, the Dayton administration said. Dayton’s office estimates the plan would save families an average of more than $800 per person annually in 2018 compared to 2017.”

The chances that those numbers are accurate are virtually nonexistent. Let’s understand that these figures come from the party that insisted that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

Further, let’s understand that Gov. Dayton’s goal is to prop up a failed government program by proposing another big government ‘solution’. As I’ve said before, single-payer either fails outright wherever it’s tried or it dramatically reduces health care options.

Then there’s this:

Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, applauded the governor’s public option plan. “Access to quality, affordable health care is the benchmark for success, and this is exactly what Minnesotans will get with this expansion,” he said. “Passage of this plan would restore comprehensive networks in rural Minnesota, and give hope to many Minnesotans who are struggling to keep up with health insurance costs.”

At the bill-signing ceremony for MNsure, Sen. Lourey saidThe people won on this bill.” Considering how much pain MNsure has caused, should we think that Sen. Lourey’s opinion isn’t worthless? I certainly don’t think it’s worth anything. Watch this video before forming an opinion on whether Sen. Lourey is a legitimate health care expert or a political shill:

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To: Speaker Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka
From: Gary Gross, uppity peasant
Subject: Health insurance premium relief

Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, I’m sure you’re well aware of Gov. Dayton’s insistence that you pass his health insurance premium relief plan, aka passing his wimpy political relief proposal. According to this article, he wants you to pass his wimpy proposal virtually immediately.

As a loyal conservative activist, it pains me to say this. I’m asking you to follow his direction (with an asterisk.) I know that the GOP plan includes premium relief. I know that the GOP legislation isn’t the same as Gov. Dayton’s wimpy proposal. (Thank God for major miracles, right?)

Please pass the GOP legislation ASAP, then send it to his desk. When it’s passed, I’d recommend that you hold a major press conference right at 6:00 pm CT that night so that each of the Twin Cities TV stations is forced to cover the press conference/celebration announcement. Also, circulate this comparison table to the media:

Highlight to Minnesotans that the GOP legislation that you’ve passed in the opening days of the regular session includes extensive premium relief that Gov. Dayton insists get passed. Then highlight for Minnesotans that it also includes plans to improve access to care, competition & choice and make provider networks more family friendly.

Dare Gov. Dayton to veto your legislation. Dare him to explain why he didn’t work with you on these issues that would improve Minnesotans’ lives. Dare him to explain why he vetoed a bill that’s attracted significant bipartisan support.

Highlight to Minnesotans that you’re fighting for them. Highlight to Minnesotans that Gov. Dayton’s fighting for … well, who knows what he’s fighting for these days.

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This morning, KSTP’s Tom Hauser interviewed incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and incoming House Minority Leader Melisa Hortman. One of the first topics they discussed was MNsure. Sen. Gazelka quickly made the point that Minnesota’s system prior to the ACA was significantly superior to the system we’re currently dealing with. To her credit, Rep. Hortman quickly agreed with Sen. Gazelka. Later in the show, former DFL State Party Chair Brian Melendez complimented Sen. Gazelka and Rep. Hortman before stating his optimism that their exchange showed that a deal might be reached this session.

I’d like to think that there’s hope but I’m not optimistic about it. IMO, there are 2 people standing in the way of getting something positive done. One of the people that will likely try jamming things up is Paul Thissen. I’m certain that he’s running for governor. If he runs, I’m confident that he’ll run a scorched earth campaign, criticizing Republicans for not getting anything done.

While I’m confident that Rep. Thissen will play the obstructionist card frequently, I’m certain that Gov. Dayton will continue with his hissy fits. The opening paragraphs of David Montgomery’s article say it all:

There was so little trust left between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt by Friday that the two leaders wouldn’t agree to meet in private as they tried to salvage a package of bills to cut taxes, build roads and water projects and help people struggling with health insurance premiums.

Instead, the two sat down in front of television cameras to try to salvage a deal they’d been fighting over in various forms since May. The cameras didn’t help. After just 17 minutes of accusations and arguments, both Dayton and Daudt walked out of the room, unable to agree.

It’s obviously a very disappointing outcome,” Dayton said afterwards.

Gov. Dayton’s quote is a lie, at least from his perspective. Gov. Dayton hasn’t wanted to work in good faith with Republicans. He stated it matter-of-factly in multiple op-eds by asking voters to give him DFL majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate. (Instead, Minnesotans gave him GOP majorities in the House and Senate.)

Let’s be clear about this. Gov. Dayton is an obstructionist at heart. He’s shut down state government twice. The first time, it’s possible to argue it was the Republicans’ fault. It isn’t a strong argument but it’s an argument. The other time, though, it’s all on Gov. Dayton. Gov. Dayton vetoed bills from a bipartisan budget agreement negotiated by Speaker Daudt and then-Senate Majority Leader Bakk. (It’s worth noting that Rep. Thissen sabotaged both negotiated agreements.) It wouldn’t be surprising if Gov. Dayton shut down the government again this summer. He’s done it before. He apparently thinks that it’s the only way he’s relevant in the budget process. This is Gov. Dayton’s definition of good faith negotiating:

Daudt accused Dayton of breaking the early-December deal earlier this week, when he unveiled proposed language for all three potential special session bills. The proposed infrastructure bill, Daudt said, took away Republican priorities without harming any of Dayton’s own.

It’s time, after 6 long years of the Dayton administration, to call him what he is. Gov. Dayton is Minnesota’s Obstructionist-in-Chief.

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It isn’t a secret that Gov. Dayton will resist attempts to improve Minnesota’s health care system. This article includes a quote from Gov. Dayton that indicates he’s still in denial about Obamacare.

First, it’s worth noting that Gov. Dayton said “The average wait time has been measured in seconds. If they’re going to be attacking MNsure and wanting to abolish it, they should at least do it on the basis of the current situation, not [what happened] three years ago.” Though I’m not the GOP spokesman, I think it’s safe to say that Republicans use the term MNsure to talk about Minnesota’s health care system.

Right now, Minnesota’s health insurance system isn’t affordable. Lot’s of people have health insurance but can’t afford health care because of Minnesota’s high health care premiums and high deductibles. One of the things that was talked about at this press availability was the need to return Minnesota to having a high-risk pool:

Leader-Elect Gazelka highlighted MCHA multiple times during his press availability. Specifically, WCCO’s Pat Kessler asked about whether Republicans could maintain Minnesota’s 96% insured rate. The clear inference was that the Republican plan would kick people off of insurance. Had Kessler done his homework, he’d know that the Republicans’ plan was likely to maintain that 96% insured rate. In 2007, Minnesota’s insured rate was 92.8%. Of those that weren’t insured, half were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health care. That means that the effective insured rate pre-ACA was 96.5%.

Most importantly, Minnesotans’ health insurance was affordable prior to the Anything But Affordable Care Act. Why would Gov. Dayton and the DFL resist returning to a health insurance system that worked and was affordable? I predict that that’s what Gov. Dayton and the DFL will do. With Dayton’s propensity to shut the government down, I think it’s likely that Gov. Dayton will attempt to shut state government down for the third time in his time in office.

Gov. Dayton’s legacy will be ruined if MNsure is discredited. Gov. Dayton and the DFL were bigtime cheerleaders for the ACA and MNsure. It’s possible that the ACA will get gutted before Trump is sworn in. The individual and employer mandates are guaranteed to be repealed. Shouldn’t Gov. Dayton say yes to keeping the exchange intact but then accepted the major overhaul of Minnesota’s health care system?

Shouldn’t Minnesotans have the option of HSAs and catastrophic policies if that’s the best fit for their situation? Why should government tell families what their policies have to include? Democrats say that “a woman’s right to choose” must always be between her, her doctor and her god because it’s a highly personal decision. Shouldn’t providing health care for their family be a highly personal decision, too?

Families, not bureaucrats, know what’s best for their family. That’s why families, consulting with their doctors, should be given their choice. Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that they know best. Here’s a hint for Gov. Dayton and the DFL: Any politician that doesn’t remember that the tax bill he negotiated has a sales on farm equipment repairs shouldn’t be trusted with making health insurance decisions for families.

Finally, how can Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist on maintaining a system that’s driving health insurance companies out of the individual market? Apparently, they’re that willing to hurt families rather than admit that they made a colossal mistake.

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