Report: End for Minnesota Shutdown Nears
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called lawmakers back to work Tuesday to vote on a budget deal that would end the state’s nearly three-week government shutdown.
AP reported that the Legislature will convene at 3 p.m. (CDT), reflecting a sense of urgency to end a months-old budget impasse that resulted in the nation’s longest state government closure in a decade, disrupting lives and businesses around the state.
The shutdown has idled about 22,000 state workers, halted road projects, closed state parks, suspended many state programs and hindered private businesses, ranging from two state-regulated racetracks to some bars that couldn’t renew their alcohol licenses. But money continued to flow to public schools, subsidized health care coverage and local governments, and a court softened some effects by restoring funding for services ranging from child care aid to meal delivery for the elderly.
The stoppage won’t be over until the GOP-controlled Legislature approves nine budget bills and Dayton, a Democrat, signs them.
Dayton said some laid-off state workers could be back on the job as early as Wednesday, since he plans to sign the bills as quickly as the Legislature sends them to him. House Speaker Kurt Zellers said lawmakers plan to work through the night to end the shutdown “as quickly as we possibly can.”
“I’m relieved that we reached an agreement that’s going to mean Minnesotans who are not working or are adversely affected by the shutdown will no longer be,” Dayton told reporters as he stood outside his office with Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. “We’ve worked very, very hard these last four days and nights to reach this agreement.”