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Minnesota Senate Passes Bills to Ease Shutdown Pain

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Senate has passed bills that would keep state parks open and the State Lottery operating in future state government shutdowns.

The bills passed Thursday on largely party-line votes with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. Republican Sen. Al DeKruif sponsored the bills in response to last year’s three-week state shutdown that closed parks and shuttered the lottery among other disruptions.

Republicans say Minnesotans who enjoy those services should not suffer. Democrats say that exempting noticeable state operations from the consequences of a shutdown would drain the incentive of future lawmakers and governors to compromise on a state budget.

The House versions of DeKruif’s bill have not moved past committee hearings. Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget chief says the governor prefers a more comprehensive approach to avoiding future shutdowns.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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