Reality Check: The State Protecteth Itself

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota state government giveth, and the Minnesota state government taketh away. But in the case of the record 20-day shutdown last month, it also protecteth itself.

State lawmakers ended the shutdown by passing budget bills that include numerous provisions to clean up the shutdown mess and a special law that indemnifies the state from legal action.

(Note: The State Government Finance bill is here, and Reality Check has provided specific “clean up” sections at the bottom of this page.)

Road construction is back up and running, but business owners say the state government shutdown was devastating to many private companies. And there’s nothing they can do about it.

It’s TRUE. It’s because Minnesota a state law passed at 3 a.m. to end the shutdown. It protects Minnesota government from any lawsuits from companies who were forced to stop work and lay off employees.

But that’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY. To clean up the shutdown mess, the state is waiving fees and fines for the horse racing tracks that couldn’t race.

It retroactively granted amnesty for bars and liquor stores facing steep fines because their permits to purchase alcohol expired.

The same goes for late fees on business permits and licenses. State workers got no pay during the 20-day shutdown. But they won’t lose their service and pension credits for the forced furlough.

That’s Reality Check.


Legal Indemnification

57.04 ACTION.
57.05 No appropriation under this or any other law, regardless of when enacted, may be
57.06 used to pay or settle judgments for damages by contractors or third parties arising out of,
57.07 or related to, the government shutdown of July 2011. This limitation does not apply if
57.08 the contract expressly provides for the payment by the state or an agency of the state for
57.09 measures or activities undertaken by the contractor or third party arising from or caused
57.10 by the government shutdown.
57.11 EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

State Employee Service, Pension Credits

47.01 A state employee as defined in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 43A or 352, who was
47.02 laid off or placed on unpaid leave during July 2011 and accepts recall during July 2011
47.03 shall receive service credit and credited salary in a retirement plan as if the employee had
47.04 actually been employed during the period of layoff or unpaid leave during July 2011.
47.05 EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment
47.06 and is retroactive to July 1, 2011.

Buyer’s Cards for Bars, Liquor Stores

47.14 A retailer whose retailer card authorized under Minnesota Rules, part 7515.0210,
47.15 subpart 3, has expired between June 15, 2011, and July 25, 2011, may purchase alcohol
47.16 using an expired card, and a licensed Minnesota wholesaler may accept a card as
47.17 legitimate until July 31, 2011.
47.18 EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Waiving Requirements for Racing Days

47.20 The Minnesota Racing Commission shall waive racing days requirements in
47.21 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 240, including those in Minnesota Statutes, section 240.30,
47.22 for the 2011 racing season, to the extent the commission determines a racetrack was
47.23 unable to meet racing days requirements due to the July 2011 state government shutdown.
47.24 EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Business Permits, Licenses

47.25 Sec. 49. WAIVER OF LATE FEES.
47.26 Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a state agency may waive a late fee or
47.27 penalty in connection with issuance or renewal of a license, permit, or registration
47.28 document issued by the agency, if the agency determines that the lateness was due in
47.29 whole or in part to agency operations being affected by the state government shutdown
47.30 in July 2011.

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