Senator Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids) joined his Minnesota Senate colleagues in passing the “Keep Minnesota Open” bill to fully fund state government for the next two years in the event of a legislative stalemate. Unlike legislation previously passed this session by the House of Representatives that will only reimburse state employees for time missed time during a government shutdown, the Senate approach avoids that scenario completely by keeping the government open for all Minnesotans.
Following the passage of the bill, Senator Eichorn released the following statement:
“Today, we passed the “Keep Minnesota Open” bill as a contingency plan to ensure Minnesota’s state government remains open and fully functional for residents of this state if a budget agreement fails to be reached. While the Senate, House, and Governor all continue to work admirably towards a solution and long-term deal, it would be irresponsible to not have a backup plan in place. If negotiations do proceed, and compromise is reached, this legislation will become irrelevant, but as it stands, it is far more responsible than the risk of leaving Minnesotans with nothing.”
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.