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Minnesota Special Session Called To End Shutdown

Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Zellers shake hands July 19 after announcing an agreement on all budget bills. The Legislature is scheduled to be in special session at 3 p.m. (MNHouseInfo, TwitPic)

ST. PAUL  (AP) – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has called a special legislative session in hopes of ending the state’s nearly three-week government shutdown.

Dayton on Tuesday called lawmakers back to the Capitol for a vote on a two-year budget, with the session to start at 3 p.m. The shutdown has idled about 22,000 state workers, stopped road projects, closed state parks, suspended many state programs and hindered private businesses statewide.

The shutdown won’t be over until the GOP-controlled Legislature approves the bills and Dayton signs them.

Dayton wanted to raise income taxes on top earners, but Republicans refused. The standoff prompted Minnesota’s second shutdown in six years and the longest by a state government in a decade.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Read the budget bills lawmakers will be voting on.

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