Gov. Mark Dayton heads to a budget meeting
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, right, is joined by Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, left and Jim Schowalter, Commissioner of Minnesota Management & Budget as they head to a budget meeting with Republican leaders in St. Paul, Minn. Friday, June 24, 2011. With no deal on a budget and one week left until a state government shutdown, Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders retreated behind closed doors Friday for what was set to be an all-day meeting aimed at bridging their dispute over taxes and spending. (Pioneer Press: John Doman)
Minnesotans should know by tonight if their state government will shut down Friday.
After two closed-door meetings with legislative leaders Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton said today is "the day when we have to get it done if it's going to get done.''
Technically, Dayton and leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature have until midnight Thursday to prevent more than a brief shutdown.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor said he and legislative leaders could cut a deal if they're willing to do so.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said they are close to agreement on most of the nine remaining budget bills, but a few still need work.
The state's 201 legislators have been told to be ready to get back to the Capitol on short notice for a special session, Koch said.
Budget negotiations will resume at 9 a.m. today in the governor's reception room.
Meanwhile, a judge has ordered the Minnesota state court system to remain open if state government shuts down.
Retired Judge Bruce Christopherson, who was appointed to hear the case, ruled Tuesday that the judicial branch will continue to perform the functions necessary to fulfill its obligations and ensure citizens' rights under the state and federal constitutions.
His order directs the state to continue issuing checks and processing the necessary funds for the courts to keep operating.
A ruling is pending from another judge on which other essential government functions should keep running if Dayton and the Legislature fail to agree on a budget before Friday.