The following statement from Chuck Samuelson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, is in response to today's revelation that the Republican Legislative Leadership demanded unconstitutional policy pieces to reach a budget deal.
"The ACLU of Minnesota applauds Governor Dayton's refusal to trade constitutional rights for money in the final hours of the state's budget impasse. Although the result is a government shutdown, which will adversely impact many Minnesotans, we believe there is no price tag for preserving constitutional rights and thank Governor Dayton for standing strong. At the same time, our hearts go out to the thousands of Minnesotans who will be negatively impacted by the shutdown.
News began to leak soon after the government shutdown that the legislative leadership had included demands for changes in abortion rights, election registration requirements and even a demand to use the legislatively-drawn redistricting maps in exchange for new revenue.
While Minnesotans were led to believe that the crux of the debate was a fundamental disagreement over the amount the state should spend on government, it is now clear that the republican negotiators added extreme policy changes to their list of demands. The policies had varying levels of support during the recently completed legislative session, but none were signed into law.
To try negotiating away the constitutional rights of Minnesotans in exchange for a balance budget deal is a troubling abuse of power. At the ALCU of Minnesota we continue to have grave concerns about the constitutionality of several of the proposed provisions and will keep monitoring the legislature."