Potential for State Gov't Shutdown Looms

04 Jun 2021 2:33 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

New State Government Shutdown Parameters

The Legislature’s first self-imposed post-session deadline has now come and gone. By May 28th, leaders had pledged to release spreadsheets for each budget bill. A few spreadsheets were released on June 3rd, but many are still not complete. It is likely that they will also miss their second deadline, which is to release bill language by today (June 4th).

Budget negotiations have been going on behind closed doors, leaving both the public and many lawmakers in the dark. 
From the small amount of public engagement that has occurred, it appears a couple of the main sticking points in negotiations are clean cars emissions standards and police reform measures.

We anticipate a June 14th Special Session to complete budget work, but it is possible there won't be an agreement.

If the Legislature fails to pass a budget by July 1, the state will shut down. This time around, a shutdown would look very different than the last time the state shut down in 2011. This is due to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that came from the Senate v. Dayton lawsuit of 2017. The lawsuit was prompted by then-Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s funding.

Part of the result of that lawsuit was the following: “No money shall be paid out of the treasury of this state except in pursuance of an appropriation by law.” This means that the court will not authorize funding of core functions of government in the event the governor vetoes funding or if the legislature does not pass a budget on time.

So, the stakes are much higher now. During the 2011 shutdown, about 80 percent of government functions were considered essential and continued to receive state funding during the 20-day standoff. Because of the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in 2017, that would not happen this time. However, in the court opinion, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote, “Our decision today should not be read to foreclose the possibility of a judicial remedy in a different situation."

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