Last reviewed November 2017
Minnesota Issues Resource Guides
State Government Shutdowns
This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library on a topic of interest to state legislators. It introduces the topic and points to sources for further research. It 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 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. In 2015, a bill was introduced in the Senate (SF2145).
Legislative sources during 2011 budget negotiations - House Press Conference page and the Senate Press Conference page; Session Daily news stories from House Public Information Services; and the 2011/2012 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):
- Minnesota Attorney General: Petition, Memorandum, and Motion for Order to Show Cause filed with Ramsey County District Court, Second Judicial District, June 13, 2011.
- Response of the Governor to the Petition of the Attorney General filed June 15, 2011.
- Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law, and Order Granting Motion for Temporary Funding and Order Amending Finding of Fact Number 36 (MN Zoo funding) filed June 29, 2011.
- Governor's Proposed First Report and Recommendations of the Special Master filed July 4, 2011.
In Re Temporary Funding of Core Functions of the Judicial 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):
- Petition for Writ of Quo Warranto (June 20, 2011)
- Attorney General's Motion to Dismiss (June 20, 2011)
- Order (June 21, 2011)
- Governor's Joinder (June 22, 2011)
- Request to File Amicus Brief (June 22, 2011)
- Petitioner's Response to Motion to Dismiss (June 22, 2011)
- Order to Dismiss (June 22, 2011)
- Emergency Motion of the Governor to Consolidate and Stay Proceedings Pending Consolidation (June 29, 2011)
- Emergency Motion of the Governor: Declaration of James Schowalter (June 30, 2011)
- Attorney General's Motion to Consolidate (June 30, 2011)
- House of Representative's Response to Governor's Motion to Consolidate (June 30, 2011)
- Senate's Response to Governor's Motion to Consolidate (June 30, 2011)
- Canterbury Park Holding Corporation's Response to Governor's Motion to Consolidate (June 30, 2011)
- Minnesota Harness Racing, Inc./North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC, Response to Governor's Motion to Consolidate (June 30, 2011)
- Order to Consolidate Shutdown Litigation Filed in District Courts (June 30, 2011)
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):
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.
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.
Selected Articles About Shutdowns in Other States
Government Shutdown in the United States. Wikipedia. (Includes information on both federal and state government shutdowns.)
“Maine Government Shutdown Ends With Signing of $7.1B Budget”. U.S. News, July 4, 2017.
Jennings, Katie and Ryan Hutchins. “Christie Signs N.J. Budget, Ending 3-Day Government Shutdown”. Politico, July 3, 2017.
Neuman, Scott. "States Miss Budget Deadline, Go Into Full Or Partial Shutdown Mode." NPR, July 1, 2017.
Haggerty, Todd. "Congress Isn’t Alone in Failing to Pass a Budget. State legislatures Have Faced Similar Impasses." National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013.
Moore Lorrie. "When States Shut Down for Business." New York Times, July 1, 2011.
Goodman, Josh. "State Government Shutdowns: A Dangerous Game to Play." Stateline, June 3, 2011.
"Late State Budgets". Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2010. This compilation includes a section, "Examples of Government Shutdowns."
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; legislators and legislative staff can access the contents online.