Months of public feuding between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican state lawmakers led to hours of court-ordered mediation between the sides this week.
The Minnesota Supreme Court required both parties "to participate in good faith efforts to resolve this dispute." The "dispute" being over funding for the Legislature, which the governor vetoed in protest over Republican-crafted budget bills he was unhappy with– yet let become law – to force renegotiations. The Legislature sued Dayton, arguing the veto was unconstitutional.
So the governor sat down with House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka this week, a mediator there to help guide things along.
After 1 1/2 days of talk, Dayton and the Republican leaders appear no closer to figuring this out than before.
Why the mediation ended
“They didn’t offer anything meaningful,” Dayton said Friday after the mediation ended, according to Session Daily.
In a separate statement, he said he wasn't surprised by the GOP lawmakers' "intransigence" – their unwillingness to compromise.
Daudt and Gazelka, naturally, have a different view of what happened.
Daudt called the mediation "difficult," but blamed Dayton for bringing the lawsuit to the Supreme Court in the first place, and said the governor was the one who cut the mediation off.
"We're disappointed in his action. Unfortunately he's decided to end it but that's his decision," Daudt said, adding they're open to talking to him further to resolve the issues any time.
The official court report about the mediation says the mediator declared Dayton and the Republicans had "reached an impasse," so ended it.
So what happens next?
Dayton and the Republican leaders both have differing opinions on how long the money the Legislature currently has will last, according to documents filed with the court earlier this week.
Daudt said they'll slow down legislative spending to try to get to the 2018 session with the current carryover funds, according to Session Daily.
But to establish new funding, the House and Senate will have to pass a bill that Dayton is OK with – or he can just veto it. And Republicans don't hold enough seats to override a veto unless they get Democrats on board.
MPR explains the in-limbo status of the court rulings if you want those details.
The 2018 legislative session starts Feb. 20.