Minnesota’s House GOP leader Daudt says shutdown is unlikely

Published 5:04 pm Monday, June 21, 2021

By Brian Bakst, Minnesota Public Radio News

As the Minnesota Legislature enters a second week of a special session, a key lawmaker says he’s confident that the state government will keep running in July no matter what.

There is no appetite to enter the new fiscal year without a funding agreement in place, Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told MPR News’ Cathy Wurzer Monday.

A 2017 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling appears to limit the ability of the courts to order funding as was done in past stalemates.

“I think a shutdown is really unlikely,”  Daudt said. “We don’t know what a shutdown under this new Supreme Court decision would look like. Nobody has tested that. Maybe the courts would interpret that differently than we anticipate. But nobody wants to take that chance.”

If talks falter, Daudt said a bill to continue operations for 30 days could be approved to buy more time.

Daudt and House Republicans used House rules to slow down majority Democrats’ efforts to pass a first batch of budget bills last week, although Daudt noted that because negotiators hadn’t reached agreements on other bills the GOP didn’t really push the state any closer to a shutdown.

On Saturday, the House passed bills to fund higher education and agriculture programs for the next two years. They also passed a bill to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars to four funds that promote clean water, prairies, forests, wetlands, parks, trails, and arts and cultural programs. What’s known as the legacy bill isn’t technically part of the general fund budget.

Daudt said Republicans relented somewhat on their filibuster tactics because Senate Republicans are working on a deal to extend reinsurance, the program enacted a few years ago to stabilize health insurance premiums in the individual market.

No budget bill has yet reached the governor. Negotiations on the biggest budget measures are ongoing.