Minnesota shutdown could force unwanted side effects

Published On: Jul 12 2011 08:29:11 AM CDT

WINONA, Minn. -- For its second week, Minnesota is at a statewide standstill.

As Minnesota's statewide government shutdown drags on into its second week, elected officials are at an impasse on the state's budget.

Both sides have compromised a little on their original budget proposals, but not enough to reach a deal. And that's what is keeping the state at a standstill.

"I think we need to put those games aside, put that rhetoric aside. Both sides have compromised and both sides need to continue to compromise," says Sen. Jeremy Miller.

But State Representative Gene Pelowski says what Minnesotans should be concerned about is not the shutdown, but the budget that will follow it. "The shutdown is one issue. But it masks, really, the permanent issue. People are laid off in the shutdown. They're still getting paid until July 15 and they'll get unemployment. Once this budget, though, goes into effect, there will be fewer jobs and fewer programs and that is a fact," says Pelowski.

In the meantime, the state shutdown may have some dangerous consequences. While you can't buy a Minnesota lottery ticket during the shutdown, you can get a gun permit.

The Winona County Sheriff's Department still has to make a decision on whether to issue someone a permit within 30 days, even though the shutdown makes them unable to run a full background check. They can still check out criminal history, but they can't perform a human service check to see if the applicant has ever been committed to a mental institution.

Winona County Sheriff David Brand says, "I am concerned because you know if somebody's been in a mental institution or ill, maybe he's been violent in the past, you know, I'm concerned about that. It's a liability on the sheriff's department and on me."

If the state doesn't get back on its feet soon, we could end up seeing even more of the shutdown's unwanted side effects.

Both Senator Miller and Representative Pelowski says they are optimistic that a resolution will come soon.

Minnesota state legislators can choose whether or not they take a paycheck while government operations are stalled.