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Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to reporters Wednesday before suspending the news conference. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)
Gov. Mark Dayton speaks to reporters Wednesday before suspending the news conference. (Staff photo: Kevin Featherly)

Dayton learns of veto ruling during press conference

After more than half an hour fielding questions, most about the shocking July 14 police shooting of Minneapolis woman Justine Damond, Gov. Mark Dayton was wrapping up a press conference Wednesday. Just one more query on its way, delivered by KSTP-TV reporter Tom Hauser.

“Governor, we are just getting word that the Ramsey County judge is issuing an order in the lawsuit — it says your vetoes are null and void,” Hauser began. “I guess funding for the Legislature …”

“I’ll come back,” Dayton interrupted. “I just got a note. I’ll come back some other time today when I have a chance to understand the basis of his decision. OK? Thank you.” With that, the governor — who normally lets his press conferences roll on until reporters’ questions peter out — was off like a shot.

He never returned to the podium Wednesday. Instead, he sent out a written statement declaring his intention to appeal Judge John H. Guthmann’s decision declaring Dayton’s May 30 legislative funding vetoes illegal. Belying his earlier apparent surprise, the written statement seemed to suggest the decision was both routine and expected.

“Today’s district court ruling is only a preliminary step in this case’s judicial process,” the statement begins, adding that when litigants agreed to a stipulation that temporarily funded the Legislature, expedited Supreme Court review was already in the works.

“I will continue to fight for fiscally sound budgets and policies that benefit all Minnesotans,” Dayton’s statement concludes.

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