Good morning, and welcome to another Monday. Let’s go right to the Digest.
1. Lawyers for the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton are scheduled to face off later this morning in a Ramsey County court room. The House and Senate are suing the governor over his line item veto of their budget for the next two years. Because of the Dayton’s veto, money will stop flowing to the House and Senate come July 1. But late Friday Dayton and Republican legislative leaders said they had agreed pending the judge’s approval to keep funding in place until Oct. 1 to avoid staff layoffs while they try to resolve their differences. (MPR News)
2. By the way, the lawyers arguing each side of the case today are paid by the same people–the taxpayers of Minnesota. The main issue in the case is a simple question: Can a governor veto the Legislature’s funding as a negotiating tactic? “We will see what the district court just says and ultimately what the Supreme Court says, but my read of it is crystal clear,” Dayton said. The legislative attorneys argue Dayton’s “coercive” veto violated the Legislature’s constitutional right represent the will of the people through “unabridged communication with constituents and crafting legislation.” Minnesota courts have curtailed governors’ power before — notably in 2010 when the state Supreme Court negated then Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s cancellation of funding for certain programs. Both the governor and legislative attorneys cited that case in their arguments. But the courts have never decided a case quite like this one. (Pioneer Press)
3. Key among the differences between the governor and Republican leaders is the tax bill that Dayton reluctantly signed last month. It includes $650 million worth of tax cuts for Social Security recipients, farmers, first-time home buyers, families with child care costs, small businesses with big property tax bills and college loan debtors. The chief author of the cuts, Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, cheekily called it “the greatest tax bill ever” as he lauded its relief for a range of middle-class interest groups. Dayton wants the Legislature to come back into session and undo several of the cuts, arguing they tilt Minnesota’s tax system more in favor of the wealthy. He contends lawmakers forced him to sign it by holding funding for the state Revenue Department hostage. (Star Tribune)
4. The U.S. Senate Republican health care bill could lead to cuts in programs that help frail Minnesota seniors and jeopardize many cost-saving services that support caregivers and help seniors stay in their homes. The Senate bill, which could come up for a vote this week, takes a number of steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It also would massively curb federal spending on Medicaid, a 52-year-old social services program that provides matching federal dollars to help states care for the poor, elderly and disabled. Seniors are the fastest-growing group to rely on Medicaid, the nation’s largest source of public health coverage. In Minnesota, seniors account for about 9 percent of the 1.2 million men, women and children covered under the program, which is called Medical Assistance. (Star Tribune)
5. In less than a week Minnesota will drop its longtime ban on Sunday liquor store sales. Though some stores plan to keep the old tradition and remain closed, hundreds of corporate, independent and municipal liquor retailers across the state are stocking up, rescheduling employees — and hoping shoppers make it all worthwhile. Tony Chesak, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said he expects that once liquor retailers get some Sunday sales experience under their belts, they will have suggestions for lawmakers for tweaks in the law. The hours of operation, for example, could be narrowed or widened in the future. (Star Tribune)