No negotiations, just protests as shutdown enters second week

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The state government shutdown is now 11-days old, but there were no new talks today aimed at resolving the lingering budget impasse.

About the only activity was a rally on the front steps of the closed Capitol. More than one hundred representatives of Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese and other Asian-American groups gathered on the steps to call for an end to the shutdown. Organizer Zha Blong Xiong said the shutdown is hurting several social service agencies that help his community with employment searches and child care. He wants the governor and legislators to take notice.

“They need to put politics behind and put the people first, because everyday they’re trying to struggle though this budget ordeal the people actually suffer,” Xiong said. “And we really want our state leaders to get their act together, come together, compromise. Not not for the political party, but for the people of Minnesota.”

Xiong said the same groups will be back with larger crowds if the budget impasse continues.

Meanwhile Republicans leaders renewed their request that Gov. Dayton call a special session. Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch released a written statement blaming the governor for allowing the shutdown to continue, rather than letting legislators work on some of the budget bills and pass a temporary lights on bill.

“Despite his insistence during the campaign cycle that he would not allow government to shut down, Governor Dayton has not only allowed Minnesota’s State Government to shut down, but he has allowed it to continue by refusing to call us into a special session.” Koch wrote. “Only Gov. Dayton can end this shut down.”

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