Members of the Legislature are being asked to scale back their expenses as legislative leaders' lengthy legal dispute with Gov. Mark Dayton drags into a fifth month.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, told members of the House last week that they would no longer be compensated for mileage, committee expenses and other costs. The Legislature is also putting a freeze on House members' $66 per diem allocations. Those restrictions went into effect Friday.
The Senate clamped down on its spending in June, when Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, notified members of that chamber that their travel reimbursement requests would not be authorized "until further notice." Those reimbursements typically cover out-of-state travel for conferences and meetings related to training on issues for the upcoming legislative session.
Senators have also pulled the plug on a traditional ritual for this time of year: tours around the state to see potential projects that could be included in a 2018 public works bonding bill. The House has plowed forward with its own bonding tours, but members will now have to finance at least some of those trips out of their own pockets. Two tours are scheduled for this week in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The Legislature's budget is in limbo as the Minnesota Supreme Court considers the issues raised by Dayton's veto of legislative funding this spring. The court has said the veto was constitutional — which legislative leaders dispute — but has not definitively ruled on whether the Legislature's budget should be restored.