ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A stalemate-induced Minnesota government shutdown has gotten a fresh look from a House committee before the real budget debate even begins at the Capitol.

The House Health and Human Services Finance Committee got a roughly 20-minute recap Thursday about how critical services were handled during that 2005 shutdown.

Committee Chairman Jim Abeler, an Anoka Republican, said the presentation's purpose was to lay the stakes on the table in hopes of avoiding another crisis this year. But Democrats, led by St. Paul Rep. Erin Murphy, argued that the hearing sent a confusing signal to the public about the willingness of lawmakers to work toward a budget agreement.

The state now faces a $6.2 billion deficit.

During the eight-day shutdown in 2005, the courts deemed some services essential and ordered them maintained.

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