With less than 12 hours until a government shutdown, off-and-on meetings between Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP legislative leaders ended early this afternoon with no indication where budget negotiations stand.
Protesters packed the Capitol steps, lawmakers caucused and leaders conferred the early part of Thursday — the end of the state fiscal year — but the self-imposed “cone of silence” has shrouded any clue of whether a deal can be reached by midnight.
Senate GOP spokesman Michael Brodkorb said no meetings are currently scheduled between the governor and Republican leaders, but it’s likely they’ll talk in the coming hours. Earlier this morning, the GOP caucuses met, but Brodkorb couldn’t speak to what occurred there.
“There’s always a cone of silence in caucus meetings. There are a variety of cones,” he joked.
According to Twitter reports, House Republicans began caucusing after 1 p.m. to discuss budget negotiations and the potential shutdown. Brodkorb confirmed that nearly all legislative GOPers are at the Capitol, ready if Dayton calls a special session.
When asked why Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and House Speaker Kurt Zellers hadn’t addressed reporters, Brodkorb explained: “It’s difficult for them to speak” because they need to be extra careful about the cone of silence.
More protests are scheduled throughout the evening as the midnight deadline for lawmakers approaches.