Open or closed: Govt. shutdown 101

by Kyle Potter

Weeks of speculation on what services may continue in the event of a government shutdown came to an end Wednesday, when Ramsey County District Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin ordered what will remain open if Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers don’t finalize a budget by midnight Thursday.

Any services or agencies shut down come Friday will stay closed until the two parties finish a budget. Here’s a handy list of what will and will not be affected compiled by the Star Tribune.

  • University of Minnesota: The University’s doors will stay open, just as Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter had indicated. If a shutdown extends into the fall, the University may respond with temporary layoffs or delaying research. Construction projects like the renovation of Folwell Hall may be affected right away, Pfutzenreuter said. 
  • University / Minneapolis police : University police Chief Greg Hestness said UMPD won’t be affected – no layoffs or decreases in patrols have been planned. Similarly, Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer said via Twitter Thursday that Minneapolis police don’t anticipate a shutdown will have any impact. State patrol will stay on duty.
  • Public transportation: Bus lines around the Twin Cities will continue running normally. The majority of road construction sites will be abandoned and put on pause. Work on the Central Corridor light rail line on Washington Avenue will be uninterrupted.
  • Highway rest stops: Plan accordingly for long drives – the state’s rest stops will be closed for the duration of a shutdown. Can McDonald’s handle an increase in restroom use? Only time will tell.
  • Hunting and fishing licenses: The Department of Natural Resources won’t be issuing licenses, but will continue regular enforcement.
  • State lottery: Head to the blackjack tables or slots if you’re feeling lucky – the state lottery will be closed.
  • Race tracks: Both Canterbury in Shakopee, Minn. and Running Aces in Columbus, Minn. will shut down. Time to dust off your DVD of “Seabiscuit.” Did anyone even see “Secretariat”?
  • State parks: From Fort Snelling to Gooseberry Falls, all of the state’s parks will be shuttered.
  • Military / Veterans services: Veterans homes will stay open, but tuition reimbursement claims will stop.
  • Health and Human services: Low-income health programs like MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance will keep running, as will food stamps, welfare and unemployment benefits and some benefits for the disabled. Child-care assistance, criminal background checks and food shelf distributions, however, will not.
  • The DMV: License renewals will be possible, but you’ll need to wait until a shutdown ends in order to take a driver’s exam.
  • Courts: If you’re scheduled for a court date, be sure not to miss it because the courts will stay open.