UPDATE: And they have a deal.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers met for three hours Thursday afternoon and managed to hammer out a deal to end the government shutdown. A special legislative session to pass the budget compromise is expected to be called within the next several days.
CNN has more on the deal itself, which is "based more on borrowing than on finding new permanent funding sources."
UPDATE Thursday at 2:12 p.m.: Minnesota beer drinkers may not go thirsty for long.*
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday took a major step toward ending the state’s two-week-old government shutdown by agreeing to accept a Republican budget proposal first offered last month.
“Despite my serious reservations about your plan, I have concluded that continuing the state government shutdown would be even more destructive for too many Minnesotans,” Dayton wrote in a letter to GOP leaders. “Therefore, I am willing to agree to something I do not agree with – your proposal – in order to spare our citizens and our state from further damage.”
Minnesota TV station Fox 9 reports that Dayton and Republican lawmakers are set to resume budget talks later Thursday. If they strike a deal, a special legislative session to end the shutdown could be called within three days.
*We imagine Minnesota’s teetotalers would also be happy to have their government back up and running.
Original Post Wednesday at 2:31 p.m.: Minnesota’s government shutdown has entered a sobering new phase.
Two weeks after the state’s political leaders missed a deadline to resolve their differences over the budget, the state’s Public Safety Department told local reporters that the beer conglomerate Miller-Coors would be forced to pull its wares from stores statewide. It seems the country’s second-largest beer conglomerate neglected to renew the paperwork required to distribute its 39 brands of cold ones within the state before the July 1 shutdown (a claim company reps dispute). Now it’s too late.
The casualties include not only Miller and Coors but summer favorite Blue Moon, street-corner staple Olde English, and the delicious high-end Czech import Pilsner Urquell. But that’s not all, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Hundreds of bars and liquor stores in the state are in peril of running out of booze altogether because the “buyer’s cards” required to purchase alcohol expired at the end of June.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars at stake here that can never be made up,” Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told the News Tribune. “We’ve got businesses that are about to close their doors if they can’t buy beer to sell.”
If this doesn’t renew the state’s legislators’ thirst for negotiations, it’s hard to fathom what will. So far the closure of state parks and highway rest stops, a spectrum of suspended government services, and the furlough of over 20,000 state workers have all failed to bring Republicans and Democrats back to the table. The parties are divided on how to close a $5 billion deficit in the state’s two-year budget.
State troopers and prison guards remain on duty, and courts are still open, for what that’s worth.
The shutdown, the state’s second in six years, is the longest in recent memory in the United States, Reuters asserts. Its troubles loom as a cautionary tale for leaders in Washington as talks over raising the debt ceiling drag on.