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House Rules Committee supports amicus brief in unallotment case

Editor’s note: Check back later today for analysis of the Rules Committee action from Doug Grow.

As the court case challenging Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s unallotment solution to the state budget crisis gets under way with a hearing today, the Rules Committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives this morning agreed to file a “friend of the court” brief on the case.

“Members of the Minnesota House feel strongly that we need to address the important issues raised by this case,” said House Majority Leader Tony Sertich in a statement after the action.  “The plaintiffs are arguing that the governor did not follow the law when he resorted to unallotment in this instance.  We believe it is important that the court understand we agree with that argument.”

Although it would appears to be a partisan effort supported by DFLers against the Republican governor, Sertich said it’s more than that.

“We do not see this as a partisan issue, but rather an important case about the separation of powers in state government,” Sertich said in an earlier statement. “The matter under consideration has important ramifications for our state, regardless of which party the Governor and Legislature represent. We also intend to examine the unallotment statutes and how they impact separation of powers during the upcoming 2010 legislative session.”

If the committee votes to file the brief, House Research attorneys are standing by to prepare the legal papers, which House leaders say would address issues affecting the House, including separation of powers issues under Article III of the Minnesota Constitution. 

“Members of the Minnesota House feel strongly that we need to address the important issues raised by this case,” Sertich said. “The plaintiffs are arguing that the governor did not follow the law when he resorted to unallotment in this instance. We believe it is important that the court understand we agree with that argument.”

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