Minn. House ready to join government shutdown lawuit

A Minnesota House panel approved a resolution Tuesday that allows the House to join a lawsuit to keep essential services functioning during a government shutdown.

Republicans on the House Rules Committee sponsored the measure, which also authorizes the hiring of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson to represent the House during the litigation. An initial hearing is scheduled Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

House GOP Majority Leader Matt Dean of Dellwood said Magnuson will argue for continued funding and against Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal for budget mediation.

"We're tying to keep the doors open so that if we have a shutdown that we can process the bills to get us out of a shutdown," Dayton said. "We need a functioning House to do that, and that's going to be his role."

Democrats on the committee were generally critical of the resolution. Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, said it was a sign that Republican leaders had given up on budget negotiations.