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Dayton Calls Legislative Session to End Minnesota State Shutdown

Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton called a special legislative session to vote on budget bills to end the nation’s longest state shutdown since 2002.

The legislature is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. local time today, after the administration and Republican legislative leaders settled the details of the measures, Dayton said in a statement issued by his office.

“This is an agreement that will get Minnesota back to work,” House Speaker Kurt Zellers said in a news conference at the Capitol in St. Paul.

Dayton, 64, and Republican legislative leaders reached the framework of an agreement last week to close a $5 billion state budget deficit and have been negotiating the details since then. The sides agreed to bridge a $1.4 billion budget gap by raising $700 million through bonds tied to the 1998 tobacco settlement and shifting $700 million in education spending into the next budget, according to a proposal Dayton made last week.

Most government functions stopped at 12:01 a.m. July 1 after Dayton and lawmakers failed to resolve the budget dispute in the Midwestern state of 5.3 million. The closure idled 23,000 workers, closed parks and agencies, and halted construction projects.

The shutdown is the longest of six in U.S. states since 2002 by 10 days, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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