ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A popular TIME Magazine cover from 1973 declared Minnesota the "State that Works," but legislative and constitutional experts now say that era in state history may be over.
A constitutional lawsuit brewing over Governor Mark Dayton's decision to defund the state legislature through the use of a line-item veto, the culmination of a contentious budget session in which Republican legislators managed to sneak in last-minute provisions the governor opposed.
The Minnesota state Constitution gives the governor blanket power to line-item veto appropriations bills, but legal experts say defunding another branch of government puts Dayton on shaky legal ground under the "Separation of Powers" clause.
"I would argue that whatever powers his line item veto has, he can't use them in ways that undermine the very existence of the legislature," constitutional scholar David Schultz said. "[The statutes] are in conflict, and that's why the court is going to have to reconcile these, but I do think that the nod goes slightly to the legislature on this one."
In the bigger picture, everyone seems to agree that unprecedented partisan polarization has slowed the flow of government in the state, and is causing problems like the current one overtaking 75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.
"We can't hold up that fish anymore like Wendy Anderson did and proclaim we're the state that works, Schultz said. "We're the state that has serious problems."