TTT MAY 5: UNALLOTMENT RULING COVERAGE
Our scheduled topic was preempted this week as TruthToTell beat all other local media to the punch talking about the Minnesota State Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision nullifying Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s attempt to cut state spending using unallotment. The majority (Chief Justice Eric Magnuson with Justices Alan Page, Paul Anderson and Helen Meyer; dissenting were Justices G. Barry Anderson, Lorie Skjerven Gildea, and Christopher Dietzen) upheld the Ramsey County District Court in ruling that Pawlenty had, indeed, exceeded his authority in unalloting funds for programs he otherwise approved in the original budget, thus circumventing the Constitutionally guaranteed legislative budgeting process.
[Supreme Court UPDATE: SInce this program aired, Gov. Pawlenty has chosen Lorie Skjerven Gildea as the next Chief Justice to succeed the retiring Eric Magnuson. Gildea, one of the dissenters in the above ruling, and her two dissenting colleagues were the only candidates under consideration for the new appointment. Pawlenty also appointed University of MN law professor, David Stras, about whom, Rep. Ryan Winkler wrote: “Pawlenty’s appointment of Mr. Stras is even worse (than that of Gildea). Mr. Stras is a right-wing ideologue who wrote a radical amicus brief supporting the Governor’s illegal unallotments,” he said. The appointments are seen as yet another significant tilt to the right in judicial circles.]
Listen to this wide-ranging discussion of the fallout from that ruling on state politics and governance from here on out as all sides struggle with lingering deficits and a governor (backed by Republicans in both houses) who refuses absolutely to consider revenue-raising as part of the solution in this last year of his last term in the office and off to campaign for President of the US.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN moderate the conversation with a key House member and two reporters who’ve been following the case from inside and outside the courtrooms since Ramsey District Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled against Pawlenty and in favor of six threatened poverty program recipients and their legal aid attorneys.
[Our scheduled discussion on threats to the openness of the Open Meeting Law will come at a later date. House File 2958 (and it’s Senate companion-SF2518) originally redefining ”public body” to exclude all advisory committees and task forces at all levels to adhere to the Open Meeting Law is now in the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee after passing out of the House Government Operations and Technology Committee with Rep. Michael Paymar’s (DFL-St. Paul) last-minute amendment that ”re-broadens” the definition of a public body to include allpanels, including citizen task forces and advisory committees, especially those created at the initiative of local governments and school districts.]