Battle of the snark

The courtroom shutdown showdown Thursday was a fest of high-minded constitutional questions as the state’s top lawyers battled over key separation of powers questions. It was also a festival of snark. Fritz Knaak got it started by saying his clients' brief  -- he represents four Republican senators who have a different legal reading of the issue than the Minnesota Senate – was the only filing from the august body with any “teeth.” Gov. Mark Dayton’s attorney David Lillehaug was next. He took a swipe at Eric Magnuson, the attorney for the House, by saying he was “waiting eagerly” for his brief. “I was expecting, certainly impressive constitutional argument,” Lillehaug said. Instead, he said, the House’s filing was primarily concerned about whether and how the House could get access to its banked funds in a shutdown. Magnuson, a former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, was not ready to let that sit. With his chance to speak, he accused Lillehaug of an argument that had “more politics than law in it.”


After refusing the media request to allow cameras in the courtroom at the Ramsey County shutdown showdown, Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin relented after a morning session and said they would be allowed for a Thursday afternoon session. The media scrambled and within an hour set up a pooled streaming video feed, high quality audio recording, still photos and a video recording.

Zellers plays host

In a bit of a surprise, Friday’s all-day budget negotiation between Dayton and the Republican legislative leaders will take place in House Speaker Kurt Zellers’ state Capitol office.  Typically, such meetings take place in the governor’s office. -- Mike Kaszuba

Who’s there?

Late Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch cast doubt on the plan for two days of marathon negotiating sessions with the governor because Dayton decided late in the day that he wanted to bring along the minority leaders of both the House and the Senate. By Thursday, she said they could come along. But, it seems according to Dayton’s public schedule sent late Thursday, the governor wants to make clear he won the “who’s at the table” fight. It makes note of the fact that the governor will be “joined by Senator Tom Bakk and Representative Paul Thissen” when he goes to negotiate the budget.

The meeting before the meeting

Dayton prepared for Friday’s all-day meetings with Koch and Zellers by meeting Thursday with his commissioners and key DFL legislators.  Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park, the lead DFLer on the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, said he and others were in the governor’s office Thursday afternoon.  “[We were] just trying to go over what the issues are,” he said.  “Basically, just having a discussion of what this means and figure out where we have to go, what we do, what we can’t do.”  -- Mike Kaszuba

Like it?

The GOP recently set up a new Facebook page “Call Us Back To Work” demanding DFL Gov. Mark Dayton call a special session. As of 7 a.m. Friday, it had 460 “likes” and several unfriendly comments on its wall.

The representative from Iowa

Maybe there aren’t going to be two Minnesotans in the presidential race after all. While Gov. Tim Pawlenty is running on his Minnesota record (if we can do it in Minnesota, we can do it anywhere), Bachmann keeps playing up her Iowa roots. On a conference call with Iowa reporters Thursday, Bachmann said: “This is an Iowan who wants to take an Iowa voice to the White House. It’s historic and I would like Iowa to be a part of this and come along with me on this journey.” Iowa is the first state on the primary calendar, and Bachmann is making her presidential announcement Monday in her hometown of Waterloo. Bachmann was born there and moved to Minnesota when she was 12. Of course, if she doesn’t get the nomination, her “Iowan” push is serving up ready-made campaign material to potential opponents in the Sixth District -- in Minnesota. -- Jeremy Herb

Former “President” and Franken

Actor Kevin Kline, who plays the president in the 1993 comedy-drama Dave, paid a visit to U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Wednesday to talk about juvenile diabetes. Kline was on Capitol Hill with several Minnesota advocates, according to Franken spokesman Ed Shelleby. Kline has a son who has been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, and Franken has done work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. -- Kevin Diaz


All Minnesota lobbyists were supposed to file disbursement reports with the state campaign finance board by June 15. Some were late. The board shared their names here.

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