The Minnesota Attorney General's office today filed petitions in Ramsey County Court asking for legal authority to continue funding core government services if state government shuts down.
Citing state services including prisons, sex offender treatment and veterans homes, Attorney General Lori Swanson argues a government shutdown would deprive Minnesota citizens of rights guaranteed under the state and federal constitutions. She says the court should allow the executive branch to temporarily continue funding essential services even though the Legislature and governor have not agreed on a budget for the upcoming two years.
Swanson argues that prisons, probation, state health department disease monitoring, and health care for more than 600,000 people are all examples of essential services that should be allowed to continue.
She advises the court to select what's known as a special master to determine specifically what should be funded and even suggests former state Supreme Court Justice James Gilbert for that job. Government will shut down if Governor Mark Dayton and the legislature fail to reach a budget deal by July 1st.
Here's the petition...
Dayton issued this statement on Swanson's petition:
"The Governor's office will file its own petition to the Court, along with the critical services as designated by our contingency planning, this week."