Around MN: flipping the switch

Posted at 7:39 AM on July 18, 2011 by Michael Olson (1 Comments)

Details continue to be hammered out over a budget agreement between DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders. The governor hasn't called a special session that would allow finalized agreements to become law of the land.

As the bill work continues, many news organizations have focused on the challenges of "restarting" the government.

An AP wire story making the rounds around the state reports that "restarting the machinery of the state will probably take a few days."

If rank-and-file lawmakers sign off on the deal, it will end a shutdown that's the longest in recent U.S. history. But for residents whose lives have been disrupted, the relief won't be immediate.

"It's not like we can just flip a switch," said Doug Neuville, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, which has halted renewal of driver's licenses and vehicle tabs during the shutdown. The computer systems used to issue renewals take time to bring back online, and the services won't be immediately available, he said.

Same goes for closed rest stops and state parks. State budget office spokesman Jonathan Pollard said those must be cleaned and thoroughly checked before people can use them again. Road construction projects idled by the shutdown are likely to require safety checks before work can resume.

The Pioneer Press reports that once state workers are notified that government is reopening they will have 3 days to return to work.

Some workers continue their jobs without pay, reports the Star Tribune.

As the shutdown grinds on, a more clear picture of the unintended consequences become clear. Trade and construction association officials estimate as many as 15,000 private sector workers have lost their jobs as a result of the shutdown. MPR's Dan Olson profiles one private contractor and the struggle the shutdown has caused his family.

Once the switch is flipped, lobbyists and advocates are concerned that what they've fought for over the legislative session will be forgotten. "It's been so many weeks since the Legislature adjourned, will anyone remember what our concerns were?" says Sue Abderholden, NAMI Minnesota (MPR).


Comments (1)

Everyone needs to remember this during the 2012 elections and not re-elect any incumbents...It is especially sad that the GOP wants to tie social policy to the budget, even when working to stop a shutdown.
Keep in mind no real solutions are being proposed at this point. "accounting shifts" and borrowing from future revenue are only very short term fixes, like payday loans, but the problems are still there and we aren't in a better situation that we were before...
The "no tax increase" thing is a bunch of bs. If a local school district's payment from the state is cut, what is the effect - higher local taxes and fees. All the politicians in St Paul need to quit playing games and work in the STATE's best interest

Posted by EGFer | July 18, 2011 9:02 AM


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