On Saturday, the Minnesota Senate approved the Keep Minnesota Open budget bill, which funds state government in the event of a legislative stalemate. The legislation, HF2032, fully funds state government operations at the forecasted level for the next two years.
“Like I have said, we hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” said Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes), the bill’s author. “History has shown us that special sessions are not unusual, and if a budget agreement completely fails we have to protect Minnesotans from the negative impacts of a shutdown.”
The bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote, with all DFL members opposing the measure. Due to a recent 2017 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that ruled the court cannot allocate funds from the state treasury without a specific appropriation, all state government operations would cease during a legislative stalemate. This could lead to the furlough of public safety personal and jeopardize the safety of all Minnesotans. This legislation would prevent that scenario.
If a budget agreement is not reached by June 30, all state government funding would cease until a budget is passed. In 2017, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in The Ninetieth Minnesota State Senate, et al., v. Mark B. Dayton that no legal mechanism exists to fund essential state government services outside of a legislative appropriation. As such, this legislation fully funds state government at the forecasted levels for the next two years – ensuring there is no lapse in funding for essential state government services.
The legislature is constitutionally-mandated to adjourn on Monday, May 20.