ST. PAUL, Minn. -- On Thursday, in compliance with a court order from Judge Kathleen Gearin, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced that the Office of the Secretary of State would remain open in the event a government shutdown. The office will continue to provide data for business loans.
Ritchie's office issued a statement Thursday saying "Judge Gearin has ordered that the critical core functions our office provides remain open. Every month, our office works to protect the constitutional rights of Minnesotans through a variety of core services. The loss of these services would have been devastating to Minnesotans. Today, the Court has made clear that Minnesotans will not lose these core rights during the budget negotiations," stated Ritchie.
Also Thursday, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber issued a news release stating that it will continue to operate the Highway 371 visitor information center and rest stop in the event of a government shutdown.
The rest stop, which also houses offices for the Minnesota State Patrol, will remain open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber will bear the costs of operating the facility throughout the shutdown.
The Brainerd Lakes Chamber news release stated "Our Welcome Center is too valuable of an information resource for visitors to the Brainerd Lakes Area to be held hostage by the political process," said Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber CEO. "Our Board of Directors made the decision to keep the lights on and the doors open to ensure our businesses in the region are promoted during the largest tourist season and as a warm welcome to our traveling guests."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press has provided a snapshot of Minnesota state government services that would continue, or not, under a government shutdown:
CLOSED OR SUSPENDED:
46 state boards and agencies, with minimal staffing at 29 others. Departments with the most staff kept on duty would include Human Services, Corrections, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs.
State funding for many nonprofits including some child care assistance programs. A court-appointed referee will decide whether some social service programs will continue.
Most highway and other state-funded construction projects. Private contracts may have to lay off workers. Emergency highway repairs will continue.
--State tourism office.
--Many licensing boards for occupations from physical therapy to private detectives.
--Various state licensing offices, such as for driver's licenses and car registration.
OPEN OR CONTINUING:
--State emergency/disaster agencies.
--Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
--State prisons and regional treatment centers.
--State tax collections.
--Federally mandated services such as medical assistance or food stamps.
--Payments under the MinnesotaCare health insurance program.
--Workers compensation claims and benefits would still be processed.
--Veterans homes and programs to help veterans, though claims services would be limited.
--Health and safety inspections of health care facilities.
--Food safety work.
--Workplace safety enforcement for high-risk employers.
--State payments to cities, counties and schools.
--Skeleton staffing in governor's office.
--Funding for Legislature, including a special session.
--Security at state buildings.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)