State shutdown services bill heads to Senate floorby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — 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 Tuesday on an eight to three vote. It now goes to the Senate floor.
Last summer's three-week shutdown forced many campers to change vacation plans. Republican Sen. Al DeKruif of Madison Lake, the bill's chief sponsor, said he doesn't think punishing those people made any sense.
"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 also pushing separate bills to keep the Minnesota Zoo open and continue payments to state colleges during shutdowns.
DFL Sen. Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights argued that those GOP bills 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 must but are not necessarily life saving."