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Last reviewed September 2014

Resources on Minnesota Issues
State Government Shutdowns

This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library on a topic of interest to Minnesota legislators. It is designed to provide an introduction to the topic, directing the user to a variety of sources, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

Tough economic times during the past decade have led to challenging budget decisions for Minnesota state policymakers. In 2001, a shutdown of state government was averted at the last moment. 2005 saw a partial shutdown that lasted for almost two weeks. In 2011, a government shutdown began on July 1, 2011 and lasted for 20 days.

This guide links to materials that document the various activities of the Minnesota Legislature, governors, state agencies, and the courts before, during, and after the several shutdowns of Minnesota state government.

A December 2011 publication titled, Automatic Continuing Appropriations and Government Shutdowns, from the Minnesota House Research Department, explores how broad automatic continuing appropriations laws function in other states that have them and how a similar law might operate in Minnesota. Recent Minnesota legislative proposals to enact such legislation are also covered in the report. In 2011-2012 several bills related to government shutdown contingency plans were introduced in the House and the Senate.

2011

Legislative sources for following current budget negotiations - House Press Conference page and the Senate Press Conference page; Session Daily news stories from House Public Information Services; and the Meeting Archives page from the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy.

Recommended Priority One and Priority Two Critical Services: 2011 Potential Minnesota Government Shutdown. Statewide Contingency Response Team, Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget, Jim Schowalter, Chair. June 15, 2011.

Recommended Statewide Objectives: 2011 Potential Minnesota Government Shutdown. Statewide Contingency Response Team, Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget, Jim Schowalter, Chair. June 15, 2011.

State Government Shutdown Executive Summary. Minnesota Management & Budget, October 2011. (See p. 4 of the report for a timeline of the shutdown.)

State Government Shutdown: Internal Controls and Compliance Audit, Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012. Office of the Legislative Auditor, State of Minnesota, 2012.

In Re Temporary Funding of Core Functions of the Executive Branch of the State of Minnesota (Second District Court 62-CV-11-5203):

In Re Temporary Funding of Core Functions of the Judical Branch of the State of Minnesota (Second District Court 62-CV-11-5361):

In re: State Senator Warren Limmer, et al. vs. Lori Swanson in her official capacity as Attorney General, et al. (Minnesota Supreme Court A11-1107):

In re: State Senator Warren Limmer, et al. vs. Lori Swanson in her official capacity as Attorney General, et al. (Minnesota Supreme Court A11-1222):

2005

Potential 2005 State Government Shutdown Documents. St. Paul, 2005. The Legislative Reference Library compiled several documents related to the partial government shutdown in 2005.

Senate Videos - The Minnesota Senate Media Office has several videos covering aspects of budget negotiations and the expected 2005 shutdown on a "Special Events" page for 2005. Scroll down to the June 2005 events.

Wattson, Peter. Power of the Purse in Minnesota. St. Paul: Senate Counsel, 2007. Legal aspects of the 2005 shutdown are discussed.

Writ of Quo Warranto Case, 2005 - A brief description and links to documents.

2001

State Shutdown Coordinating Team Announces "Critical Services" to be Continued in Event of a Government Shutdown. St. Paul: Minnesota Shutdown Communications Center, 2001.

Materials Regarding Potential 2001 Government Shutdown. St. Paul, 2001. The Legislative Reference Library compiled several documents.

News Articles About Minnesota Shutdowns

The Library has compiled a notebook of materials related to the 2005 shutdown which provides a nice overview of the 2005 situation. Materials in the notebook cover public opinions, editorials, commentaries, political cartoons, effects on government employees, and general news coverage in both the metro area and Greater Minnesota. The notebook is available for use in the Library; legislators and legislative staff can access the contents online.

Contact the Library for access to 2011 shutdown media coverage.

Selected News Articles About Shutdowns in Other States

Goodman, Josh. "State Government Shutdowns: A Dangerous Game." Stateline, June 3, 2011.

Late State Budgets. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010. This compilation includes a section, "Examples of Government Shutdowns."

Moore Lorrie. "When States Shut Down for Business." New York Times, July 1, 2011.

The Library has compiled a notebook of pre-2011 articles on state government shutdowns in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The notebook is available for use in the Library, or legislators and legislative staff can access the contents online.

Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155