Chamberlain statement on state funding bill

Statement of Sen. Roger Chamberlain about introducing a bill that funds state government in the event of legislative stalemate:

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Now is a prudent time for the Minnesota legislature to pass a bill to fund state government at the forecasted level just in case the leaders fail to reach a deal on a permanent two-year budget. Anyone who paid attention to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2017 knows they are not likely to spend money from the state treasury without a specific appropriation. I still have hope for a budget agreement but if it fails, we can’t leave prisoners unguarded, parks closed, and 35,000 state workers furloughed. We owe it to the citizens to be prepared.”

Background on the bill:

Sen. Chamberlain’s legislation (HF 2032) will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee this evening and be ready for floor action as soon as tomorrow. Unlike other continuing appropriations bills in previous sessions that funded only 90% or 95% of the current budget, HF 2032 completely funds state government at the forecasted level for the next two years.

In The Ninetieth Minnesota State Senate, et al., v. Mark B. Daytonthe Minnesota Supreme Court wrote:

“The language of Article XI, Section 1 of the Minnesota Constitution is unambiguous: ‘No money shall be paid out of the treasury of this state except in pursuance of an appropriation by law.’ The purpose of this provision in Article XI is “to prevent the expenditure of the people’s money without their consent first had and given.” In the face of this unambiguous language, we have declined to order funding, even in circumstances where constitutional rights are at stake.”

“…Article XI, Section 1 of the Minnesota Constitution does not permit judicially ordered funding for the Legislative Branch in the absence of an appropriation.”