Good Question: Government Shutdown ‘Reply All’

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — “Can we recall legislators or the governor?” asks Barbara of White Bear Lake.

We can in Minnesota. It’s pretty new, but a 1996 constitutional amendment created the recall. However, there are restrictions, and a recall has to meet one of three reasons.

(1) Malfeasance: intentionally doing something unlawful or wrong outside the scope of their duties.
(2) Serious Crime: gross misdemeanors like assault of aggravated DWI. If you get convicted of a felony and have to serve time during your term in office, you’re automatically removed under the state constitution.
(3) Nonfeasance: intentionally and repeatedly not performing the duties of your office. Nonfeasance may apply to the circumstances surrounding the shutdown, but a court would have to agree. Then 25 percent of voters would have to sign a petition, and then there would be a recall election.

In Wisconsin you can’t launch a recall until someone’s been in office at least a year. That’s why recall elections are underway against 9 state legislators and not against the new Gov. Scott Walker.

“What’s the longest government shutdown?” asks Erik Peterson of White Bear Township.

The federal government actually closed down for three weeks, from December of 1995 to January of 1996. It cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

The Minnesota shutdown in 2005 lasted eight days.

“What other states have shutdown over the past decade?” asks Nick Blankenship of Maple Grove.

Besides Minnesota, four others have shutdown in the past decade: Pennsylvania in 2007, New Jersey shut down for about a week in 2006, Michigan shutdown for 4 hours in 2007, and Tennessee for 3 days in 2002.

“What happens to the Minnesota State Fair if the government shuts down?” asks Cole Angrimson of Sartell.

If the government shutdown threatened to shutdown the State Fair, they’d get this thing worked out in ten minutes. But despite the “State” in the State Fair title, Minnesota doesn’t give a dime to the fair. It’s an independent operation and funded without state tax dollars. So your pronto pups and skyride are not threatened by the shutdown at all.

State agencies with booths might not operate (like the DNR booth), but if the shutdown lingers into late August, that will be the least of Minnesotans concerns.


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