Legislation aimed at keeping state parks and recreation areas open to the public during future government shutdowns has cleared its final committee hurdle in the Minnesota Senate.
Members of the Senate Finance Committee approved the bill today on an 8 to 3 vote. It now goes to the Senate floor. Last summer's three-week, partial government shutdown forced many campers to change vacation plans. Sen. Al DeKruif, R-Madison Lake, said his bill would prevent those people from being hurt again if there's ever another shutdown.
"What I'm hoping that we can do is get together with the governor now over this bill, and agree when we don't have a lot of pressure on us that there are some things that we just shouldn't shut down and hurt the people of Minnesota," DeKruif said.
Republicans are pushing a series of shutdown-related bills, including measures to keep the Minnesota Zoo open and to continue payments to state colleges. But Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, argued that the GOP approach might do more harm than good.
"I think if we piecemeal this thing we're going to just end up promoting shutdowns," Goodwin said. "Because we'll have excluded those things that perhaps people worry about the most or are concerned about the most but are not necessarily life saving."
Horrible idea. A State Shutdown should not be a painless process, either for the public or the legislature and governor. If we soften the blow to the public and keep popular services like the State Parks and Zoo open, what pressure is there on the governor and legislature to avoid a shutdown entirely or end one as quickly as possible?