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Dayton Calls Special Session, 9 Budget Bills Expected To Pass

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

An end to Minnesota’s nearly three-week-long state government shutdown is apparently a go after all. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called the Legislature into a special session this afternoon to vote on a budget deal.

The 19-day government stoppage has frustrated Minnesotan’s with service interruptions, and inconveniences of various natures.

Last Thursday, Dayton announced that he would accept most of what the Republican controlled legislature was proposing in it’s various bills, and the days since have been spent haggling over the final details. Though the shutdown won’t officially end until both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature approve nine budget bills and Dayton, a Democrat, signs them into law, it is believed the bills will pass.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers told the Associated Press that he expects the Legislature to work through the night to end the shutdown as quickly as possible.

The government stoppage affected 22,000 state employees, halted road work in the middle of an already short construction season, suspended lottery ticket sales and even interrupted the flow of alcohol to some bars. It was softened by court rulings requiring the state to keep paying schools, local governments and health care program costs. As the closure wore on, WCCO reports the court restored funding for services ranging from child care aid to meal delivery for the elderly.

The shutdown resulted from a months-long standoff between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republicans legislative leaders over taxes and spending. They left most of state government without the authority to spend money when they failed to enact a new two-year budget by the end of June.

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