Statement of Sen. John Jasinski on bill to fund state government in the event of legislative stalemate

Sen. John Jasinski released the following statement on the Senate bill to continue funding state government in the event of a legislative stalemate:

“I have faith that Gov. Walz and House and Senate leaders will be able to reach a budget agreement, but we have to prepare for the worst. A government shutdown would be terrible for everyone involved. We have to make sure prisons have guards, parks and campgrounds remain open, and 35,000 state workers don’t get furloughed. It’s our responsibility to protect Minnesotans from the worst-case scenario, and that’s what we’re doing. I hope the House follows suit quickly, and I hope the governor signs it.”

The legislation (HF 2032) was approved by the Senate Finance Committee this evening and will be ready for floor action as soon as tomorrow.

Background on the bill:

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. Dayton, the 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.”