A federal judge has begun hearing arguments on Senate filibuster rules this week in a lawsuit brought by critics, including Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, who argue the practice has held up immigration reform in Congress.
Several groups, including Common Cause and several Democratic lawmakers, argue that Congress is constitutionally required to pass legislation by a simple majority vote, instead of a 60-vote supermajority that can hold up debate indefinitely.
The challenge is now before U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington, D.C.
Senate attorneys argue that the Constitution’s provisions for separation of powers prevent the courts from intervening in the internal deliberations of Congress. All previous challenges have failed.
Senate Democrats, who control the Senate, have vowed to reform the filibuster rule when a new Congress convenes in January.
Defenders of the filibuster (usually the minority party at any given time) say it protects the rights of minority parties.
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Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, ended about two hours of talks today with a joint news conference, saying negotiations on a final agreement before a planned special legislative session are progressing. They said they agreed on a few issues, declining to specify which ones, while remaining far apart on others.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said Wednesday that Senate Democrats would support whatever special session deal that their fellow DFLers, Gov. Mark Dayton, is able to strike with GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt.
The announcement came after an hourlong, private meeting between Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt. That was apparently the only agreement to be found today.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto, whose office audits 59 of 87 Minnesota counties among other responsibilities, said a technical glitch in the state government finance bill that passed in the final hours of the legislative session could leave those counties without any auditing.
Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday approved four budget bills, including higher education, health and human services.