A district court judge checked the governor’s claim to power last week, granting a temporary restraining order halting the vote to unionize. While this is not the end of the battle in Minnesota, it is certainly a defining moment.
The Court believes that the separation of powers provisions of the Minnesota Constitution do not allow the governor to enact by executive order, a law which should be initiated in the legislature.
… in this Court’s view I think it is likely that the plaintiffs will prevail on the merits of this issue if it ever makes it to trial…
The moment defines not just the merits of the case, but the character of the defendants and the nature of their unionization effort. From the beginning of this episode in Minnesota, the unions and the governor have claimed that their goal is to serve the best interests of childcare providers, parents, and children most of all. However, they have done everything they could to avoid the scrutiny of the legislative process through which such interests are weighed.
Indeed, in the wake of the temporary restraining order, rather than take a step back and come at his effort from a more appropriate direction, Governor Dayton has stated that he will challenge the order in an upcoming injunction hearing. Apparently, the governor thinks he knows better than both the Court and the legislature how law ought to be made.
Childcare Freedom coalition spokesman Jeff Davis spelled out just how disappointing the governor’s response is:
… several interested parties were involved in discussions about alternative ways to facilitate the dialogue that was the governor’s stated objective. If this is all really about finding ways to increase Child Care Assistance Program subsidies and easing regulations, a taskforce could easily be formed to come up with recommendations for legislation. I don’t think the governor really needs to go to court again to have a discussion. There are less expensive, less heavy-handed means to have a conversation.
That observation added to the sum of the unionization effort thus far indicates that a conversation is the last thing Governor Dayton and his union allies want. It’s much easier to bleed the Childcare Freedom coalition with legal expenses until there is no one left with a dollar to fight back.