Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Governor Dayton appointed Lt. Governor Tina Flint Smith to Al Franken’s seat in the United States Senate. By operation of the Minnesota state constitution, the President of the Senate, Michelle Fischbach, was automatically promoted to Lt. Governor.
Her promotion created a vacancy in the Senate to be filled in the next Special Election this Fall. Meanwhile, there is no President of the Senate and Republicans say they won’t appoint one, they want Fischbach to continue filling both roles. They offered to call a special session so Dayton could appoint a Democrat to the Lt. Governor spot but Democrats declined since they want the tactical advantage of an evenly divided Senate. Even the Star Trib thought that was a dumb move. If the controversy goes to the Democrat “justices” on the state Supreme Court, we know they’ll rule the Republican seat is vacant because that creates a deadlock in the Senate which gives Democrats a tactical advantage to extort concessions.
Here’s the thing – what if the Senate meets on February 20th and cannot pick a President? What if Lt. Governor Fischbach resigns as Lt. Governor to run for her seat in the Special Election? Then there is no Lt. Governor and a stalemate in the Senate – the worst of both worlds, right? No, it gets better. If there’s no President of the Senate, there’s nobody to preside over the Senate, nobody to schedule debate, nobody to take votes, nobody to decide whether legislation passes. The Senate does nothing this year.
And since Governor Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s funding last year, the Legislature is running on fumes. When those are gone and the stalemated Senate can’t vote for new funding, the Legislature shuts down and when that happens, there’s no money appropriated to run the Executive, Judicial or Legislative Branches so the entire state government shuts down. We’ll save a bundle.
Wait – there’s more. The Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling in November upholding Governor Dayton’s line-item veto said that only the Legislature can appropriate money. But if there’s no money appropriated and the Court has no authority to order it, the entire state government shuts down.
Lack of functioning civilian government is one of the conditions when the President is empowered to impose martial law. Send General Mattis to St. Paul.
This keeps getting better and better. Governor Dayton, Closet Republican. I’m warming up to this guy.