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Minnesota GOP leaders say this year's legislative session wasn't all that bad

GOP leaders said lawmakers had a successful session – which included lifting the Sunday liquor sales ban.
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It may all be ending in acrimony and pending lawsuits, but the Republican leaders of Minnesota's House and Senate say the Legislature achieved a lot this year.

GOPers are preparing to take legal action against Gov. Mark Dayton, accusing him of unconstitutionality after he line-item vetoed operational funding for both the House and Senate. It was an effort to bring Republicans back for a special session to renegotiate part of the $46 billion state budget Dayton reluctantly signed off on.

Dayton accused the Republicans of a "reprehensible sneak attack" after a late addition to one of the budget bills. The provision, the governor argued, meant if he vetoed the bill, the state's Department of Revenue – which collects taxes – would be defunded.

Dayton said he was forced to sign the bill because of this. He also disagrees with other part of the bill, including a tax cut on cigarettes and cigars.

But in a Star Tribune column this weekend, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka defended their record this legislative session, saying lawmakers achieved a lot despite the acrimonious ending.

They say agreeing to a $650 million package of tax cuts for the middle classes, students, seniors and farmers was a significant achievement, considering Dayton's preference of using state budget surpluses for spending, rather than tax relief.

They also nod to other bills passed that, among other things, include the largest budget for road and bridge improvements in the past decade, the legalization of Sunday liquor sales, and provided stability to the health exchange market by passing a "reinsurance" bill protecting health insurers in the event of big losses.

The column, which also contains several more jabs at Dayton, can be found here.

The Pioneer Press reports the Minnesota Legislature is planning to sue Dayton, and on Friday agreed to hire a lawyer.

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