MPR's Paul Tosto has set up a new blog, Shutdown 2011. I'll leave it to you to figure out what it's about.
In the "who's winning" nature of political reporting, the details of what's behind the stalemate often got lost. What's in the Legislature's budget proposals that aren't in the governor's, for example? The Minnesota Budget Project has just released its report, "A Tale of Two Visions," which compares the two sides. It's an excellent resource.
The state shutdown will have a ripple effect in private business. The state's forestry industry has issued a news release saying a state government shutdown will mean lost jobs for workers in its business.
But, sure as shootin', the first image people will have of the shutdown is a "closed" sign at a state park (or at a rest area). Three-thousand people have reserved campsites for the July 4th weekend. What happens to them? MPR's Stephanie Hemphill reports they'll be reimbursed, but you should wait until Monday to cancel. That, however, creates "shutdown roulette." Do you feel lucky? If you cancel and get your money back, what if the shutdown is averted at the last minute? How would you feel about sitting around the house on July 4th when you could've been camping?
The DNR has a question-and-answer page about the shutdown.
I've got an idea on prevention of this shutdown mess for the future. If a budget isn't passed by normal adjournment the entire house and senate and the governor are up for immediate re-election. The vote would take place in 6 weeks. The newly elected officials would start the following week and have 8 weeks to pass and sign a new budget.
Some may be re-elected but I doubt all would. Then they would actually have some motivation to not give up a month beforet he end of session as happened this year.
Alternatively, at a minimum there should be a mechanism by which the leaders are replaced and not allowed to continue as leaders at the end of the regular session.
Al - I love your idea. it will never happen because those in office now would have to create the bill and since MN doesn't have initiative the 'people' can't create it.
The referendum, along with the initiative, are the two forms of direct legislation adopted by many states during the direct democracy movement of the early twentieth century. Referendum allows the people to state their opinion on laws that have been enacted by the legislature, and the initiative allows the people to propose their own laws.
thank you, this is so useful.