Shutdown Day 18: Hard at work..making progress?

It’s the 18th day of Minnesota’s government shutdown. Governor Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are still working out the details of the final budget deals. Little is known about what’s in the legislation. Reporters aren’t allowed into the meetings. The Capitol is closed to the public so lobbyists and special interest groups are also shut out of negotiations. Governor Dayton’s spokeswoman, Andrea Mokros, says the Capitol is closed because of the shutdown and is unlikely to be opened until the Legislature convenes in a special session. When asked if Dayton intended to open the State Capitol before the Legislature goes into special session, Mokros replied “At this point, No.”

Meanwhile, committee chairs continue to meet with commissioners to hash out the details of a budget. Dayton and GOP leaders reached agreement on a budget framework but that agreement now has to be shaped into bill form. GOP Sen. David Hann says there is a handshake agreement on the Health and Human Services budget bill, but few details have been released. The language on that bill will be sent to the revisor. Dayton and GOP leaders will then have to sign off on the language.

There’s no word on whether the bills will be made available to the public after there’s official agreement on each budget bill or whether the information will be posted online after there’s agreement on the entire budget.

All of the players involved continue to say they’re “hard at work” and are “making progress.”

Meanwhile, 22,000 state employees are still laid off, several private businesses, including Canterbury Park Horse Track and Giants Ridge Golf Course, are closed and transportation projects across Minnesota are still moth-balled.

Dayton had said he wanted to call a special session as early as today but that isn’t happening and it’s becoming less likely that a special session will be happen on Tuesday either.

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