David Lillehaug, an attorney for Governor Dayton says he’s pleased Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin appeared to adopt Dayton’s recommendations regarding which government services will continue if a shutdown occurs on Friday. But he said it won’t be pretty if Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders can’t reach an agreement.
“Based on her order, this is going to be a tough shutdown,” Lillehaug said. “Anyone who says government doesn’t do anything and doesn’t do it well, upon reading this order, and if we do reach a shutdown on July 1, they’re going to realize they’re very very wrong.”
Dayton issued this statement:
“While I am still reviewing Chief Judge Gearin’s order, it appears that her order arrived at the same middle ground as my Administration, and essentially agreed with my list of critical services that must continue. I prepared that list based on my constitutional responsibility as Governor to protect the lives and safety of the people of Minnesota. I arrived at that list with a heavy heart, knowing full well the important role that government plays in the everyday success of Minnesota’s citizens and businesses.
“Let me be clear: I would much prefer to find a fair and balanced budget solution, rather than a government shutdown. I am continuing to work toward a compromise needed to move forward.”
Attorney General Lori Swanson released this statement on Gearin’s decision:
“I am pleased that the courts granted our petitions with respect to both the judicial and executive branches.
We sought a declaration that the courts make the ultimate determination concerning the constitutional rights of our citizens and the core functions of state government in the event of a shutdown. In both cases, the courts did so.
We look forward to addressing further issues as they arise before Chief Justice Blatz.”
GOP legislative leaders have been silent on Gearin’s decision. Attorney Fritz Knaak, representing four individual GOP Senators, says his clients may challenge the constitutionality of Gearin’s order. He says the state constitution forbids state spending that isn’t authorized by the Legislature.
“Certainly in the next few days, if there isn’t some kind of solution, I know my clients will certainly be scrutinizing this and make a decision on whether they want this issue fully reviewed.”
The Minnesota Supreme Court tossed the initial petition that challenged whether a judge had the right to authorize state spending despite an appropriation. The court didn’t rule on the merits of the challenge but said it was the wrong venue.