A Minnesota Senate panel Thursday voted to allow the Senate to intervene in the lawsuit over a possible government shutdown.
The resolution, passed by the Senate Rules committee on a party line vote, could allow a wide range of responses.
"It is fairly open and vague and that's my intention. I think there are a lot of moving pieces in this and I just think that the flexibility that's needed for a situation this fluid is in this language," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo.
The language simply says "the Senate may intervene as a party and appear in the litigation commenced by the Attorney General" and allows Koch to designate an attorney to represent "the interest of the Senate." Koch said her intent was to use Senate staff counsel, not outside counsel, if the Senate does intervene.
The intervention could revolve around the Senate's ability to keep some staff on in a shutdown. But the Senate could also decide that no spending is appropriate in a shutdown or the opposite -- that more money should be spent in a shutdown. Koch did not outline any particular direction, rather she said any intervention, if necessary would represent Senate interests.
Even if the Senate decides not to file in lawsuit, initially filed by the Minnesota Attorney General on Monday, the Ramsey county courtroom will be crowded on June 23 when a judge hears the case. Gov. Mark Dayton Wednesday filed his own petition, which some starkly different guideposts than the Attorney General's petition. The League of Minnesota Cities also plans to file on behalf of their members' interests. Health care interests, schools and others may also weigh in.
I will post a copy of the resolution once I receive it electronically.