State Capitol remains quiet while talks continue behind the scenes |

State Capitol remains quiet while talks continue behind the scenes

Tom Hauser
Updated: June 16, 2021 07:01 PM
Created: June 16, 2021 04:59 PM

You can't tell by driving by the Minnesota State Capitol or walking through the hallways that the state could be just two weeks from a government shutdown. Nearly all budget talks continue happening behind the scenes with Republican Senators negotiating with House Democrats and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz.

"The House and the Senate are continuing to work on hammering out budget bills," House Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu Brindley told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "It's our understanding that there are still multiple bills not completed yet."

She says the minority parties in the House and Senate have largely been shut out of negotiations.

"House Democrats talk a good game about transparency, but really they haven't done anything to open this up to the public, let alone to legislators," Neu Brindley said.

Of course, Senate Democrats say the same about Republican majority leaders.

The biggest obstacle to agreement appears to be the public safety budget bill that will also include police reform policy provisions. The massive health and human services bill and the governor's emergency powers also remain obstacles.

A Senate bill has been introduced that would keep state funding running at current levels if there is no agreement. Democrats are skeptical about the intent of that bill.

"It allows a Senate Republican majority or any Republican majority or any Republican governor to essentially have an ability to walk away from negotiations for the purpose of continuing baseline funding," DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said.

But Neu Brindley views it as a safety valve.

"Absolutely we should consider a bill that will allow Minnesota to function," she said.

The House goes into session at 10 a.m. Thursday to begin marathon budget debates. The Senate goes into session at 2 p.m.

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