ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge has ruled Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of the Legislature's operating funding is unconstitutional.

Wednesday's order from Ramsey County Court Judge John Guthmann would permanently restore the legislative branch's budget. The two sides had agreed to temporarily fund the Legislature through September as the lawsuit progressed.

The dispute stems from Dayton's line-item veto of the Legislature's $130 million in annual funding. Dayton wanted top Republicans to rework costly tax breaks and other measure but the GOP sued him instead.

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt says it's a welcome decision and hopes Dayton won't appeal.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka issued this statement:
“Today the court ruled an entire branch of government cannot be eliminated by a stroke of the governor’s pen. The governor should accept this verdict and allow the people of Minnesota to move on, instead of continuing to waste taxpayer dollars on expensive litigation. However, if he chooses to appeal, we will continue to defend Minnesotans’ constitutional rights to locally elected representation all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Dayton declined to comment until he had time to digest the ruling.

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