Gov. Mark Dayton is calling for “a skilled professional mediator” to help Democrats and Republicans agree on a budget solution. The governor says he wants to do everything possible to avoid a government shutdown, now less than a month away. GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers rejected the idea saying “we were elected to lead.” Dayton also told his commissioners not to participate in a hearing of the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy, even though state statute appears to require state agencies to comply with the Commission’s requests.
When we asked him if he could be breaking state law, the governor responded he is “not at the beck and call of the legislature.” Legislative leaders and the governor were supposed to be meeting face to face tomorrow for the first time since the session ended without a budget deal. But Dayton concluded “I don’t see why we’re meeting.” Republican leaders say they remain optimistic and want to meet regularly with the governor, they think a government shutdown is still avoidable in the coming weeks.