MN judge reverses Dayton’s budget veto

Ed. note: the following comes by way of Dentons 50 Partner Todd Hill

A Minnesota county district judge this week reversed Governor Mark Dayton’s veto of the Legislature’s budget, saying the governor had overstepped this constitutional authority in his attempts to pressure lawmakers on tax policy.

In his opinion, Ramsey County District Judge John Guthmann wrote Wednesday that the governor’s line-item veto of the House and Senate budgets had the impact of “effectively eliminating a coequal branch of government,” and that the action had therefore violated the Minnesota Constitution.

Accordingly, the judge wrote, the governor’s vetoes were “null and void.”

Because the governor did not object to the actual appropriations for the House and Senate, and instead issued the vetoes in an attempt to seek changes on unrelated policies, Guthmann found the governor had “improperly used his line-item veto authority.”

Dayton has directed his attorney, former Supreme Court Justice Sam Hanson, the appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.