DFL Sen. Sheran offering shutdown prevention bill

State shutdown
A sign on the State Office Building in St. Paul, Minn., on July 11, 2011, alerted visitors to the state government shutdown.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

DFL State Sen. Kathy Sheran says she will introduce a bill later this week to try to prevent future state government shutdowns. A number of Republican bills aimed at keeping essential services going during a shutdown are working their way through the legislature, but Sheran says she wants to be more proactive.

Her bill would require at least one member of the minority party on conference committees.

"It allows the majority party, whichever it is, to understand, especially if the minority party is also the party of the governor, what, within the legislation, has to change in order to avoid vetoes," she said.

If a legislative session ends without a finance bill, Sheran says her proposal would require the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice to appoint a mediator to meet with legislative leadership to work towards an agreement before the end of the fiscal year.

"What this is about is prevention and about encouraging legislators to do their work in a timely way and to increase the systems that will get us to a resolution by the end of session, and then, worse case scenario, a resolution by the end of the fiscal year," she said.

A budget standoff between Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton led to a nearly three week government shutdown last summer.

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