ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge has ordered the state Department of Human Services to restart background checks for those who work with vulnerable populations as the state’s government shutdown reaches its seventh day.

Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin also ruled Thursday that several services should continue, including emergency aid programs and blind training.

But she denied a request from a program that helps developmentally disabled people find housing.

Gearin’s rulings agree with recommendations from former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, who is serving as a court-appointed referee on shutdown programs and services. Blatz’s recommendation says the disabled-housing service is important but the state doesn’t have an obligation to the federal government to keep its funding going.

Gearin also ordered funding to schools for special education costs to continue.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (39)
  1. What shutdown? says:

    Wow this is sure some painful shutdown! Kinda defeats the purpose when the list of things still open is much longer than the list of things closed.

    Why even bother?

    1. RR says:

      Agreed. Until it becomes actually more painful, there’s no pressure for them to reach a deal, which is why this thing could go on and on…

    2. Pete J. says:

      Background checks done by the state is needed for all sorts of employment. Without this service they cannot hire. You cannot shut down everything and it should be noted that we have state services that are neccessary to promote safety and growth. To all those who think everything must be shutdown, you are ignorant fools bent on causing trouble so that your temper tantrum will not go unseen. Elcetion time is around the corner….

      1. Paul says:

        To RR It might get more painful when you don’t get your renters credit check or your property tax refund in a couple of months. I suspect the budget will be balanced before that issue comes up.

      2. LN says:

        Allowing background checks accomplishes almost nothing. Most of those who work with vulnerable adults (Personal Care Assistants) also need a Provider ID Number in order for the company they work for to be paid. The Dept. of Human Services is not processing this paperwork during the shutdown. Because of this, home health care agencies still won’t hire new people.

        1. Pete J. says:

          If it accomplishes nothing or not,l it is required by Minnesota State law for more than just the medical field. Neither the employer or the new hire can do anything to change this. They need to allow the process to continue.

          1. LN says:

            The article clearly states that they are now allowing background checks for those who work with vulnerable populations. They’re not addressing all the other fields. I’m simply stating that allowing background studies is not the only piece of the puzzle for many many people who may work with vulnerable adults… such as personal care assistant. For these thousands of companies, it makes absolutely no difference if background studies are allowed because they still won’t issue provider ID numbers which are necessary for these companies to be paid… therefore they will be doing NO new hiring.

      3. JP says:

        Background checks are also provided by the FBI and are used on a regular basis at the company I work for.

    3. Lady says:

      I’m still trying to figure out how the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Zoo Concerts are essential services???

      1. Mom of 2 says:

        The MN Zoo can sustain itself during the summer with admission fees. That is why they were able to be open again.

        1. ME says:


      2. STIL-H2O says:

        Nobody declared the MN zoo to be an essential service. Do you read or just comment without knowing?

        1. ME says:

          Then the zoo should not get state funding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          1. STIL-H2O says:

            You don’t know what you’re talking about.

            But hey, don’t let that stop you. It’s always funny to see the court jester running around like a fool in front of regular folks.

            1. Mom of 2 says:

              Check out the zoo website… … Does it say they are closed?

            2. ME says:

              STATE EMPLOYEES STATE FUNDED GET YOUR FACTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              1. Mom of 2 says:

                Seriously, do anyone of you do any research before “yelling” at other commenters?

                The zoo is open. End of story.

          2. besty says:

            hello, they are NOT getting state funding they are running it all on their own from the admissions and what ever donations they receive, no money from the goverment is going to the zoo!!

        2. Mom of 2 says:

          Do you read before commenting… The MN Zoo reopened Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

          From the Mankato Free Press
          Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin agreed with the zoo’s attorneys, who argued the zoo should be able to open under a state law that directs zoo gate receipts back to the institution. Gearin found that although the zoo isn’t a core function of government, it could open because it didn’t need a state appropriation to operate.

      3. Guy says:

        Better – how are both Dayton’s CHEF and HOUSEKEEPER “essential services”.

        Lazy SOB can cook his own dinner & make his own bed. Its not like he’s doing anything else (like finding a real solution to this mess).

    4. Daisy says:

      These are the things that are driving the GOP crazy as it is these things that they want to cut but the courts keep deeming them “essential” or otherwise self-sustaining (MN Zoo) enough to be omitted from the shutdown.

      Remember – this dispute is ONLY over the Health/Human Services bill and Education bill – all other funding is agreed-upon. These two agencies make up about 70% of the budget, so they are the only places where you can really cut anything to make a difference when we have a 20% deficit as a starting point,

  2. Recall says:

    Someone out there with tech skills needs to start a recall website. I read the MN constitution. Bombardment may be our only option. A recall “reality,” to light a fire under their butts, could possibly be our only option.

  3. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    we only need one recall ..DAYTON

    1. ME says:

      You mean GOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Middle of the road says:

    So when I renew my conceal and carry permit, the background check will fly? Excellent.

    1. STIL-H2O says:

      The opposite. It will not even be processed and your permit could expire.

    2. ME says:

      That dep. is closed

  5. Wondering says:

    Does anyone know if child care services have been re-instated?

    1. No Idea says:

      Here’s an idea … since the zoo is deemed “essential” and remains open, maybe you could drop your kids off there and let them play daycare

      1. STIL-H2O says:

        False. The zoo was not deemed essential.

        1. Mom of 2 says:

          The zoo was not deemed essential, however, it is open.

    2. jo jo says:

      hi ,
      I do daycare and at this time we have not heard anything, sorry

  6. ME says:


    1. Tammy says:

      Well then you need to put on your Tea Party / GOP shirt and your sneer, go downtown Saint Paul to the capital, order those who don’t know all that you know to shape up ME. I am sure everyone would agree with you and your ME glow. Don’t forget to kick an elderly person on the way and spite on some homeless people.

  7. Middle of the road says:

    Funny, the zoo was deemed to be kept iopen beacuse it makes a profit nad thus is self sustaining. First of all, is the role of government to do those things that can not be done at a profit? If profit is the motive, then why is the lottery and track shut down? appears they are cherry picking things to keep open and closed to cause the public the most pain.

  8. MN RN says:

    The zoo is being kept open without state funding currently because they can afford it, they judge just said it was ok for them to be open, not that they are an essential service. The licensing and background checks are essential services, especially in healthcare to protect the interest of all of our vulnerable (ill, injured, disabled, child, geriatric) populations. I work for a larger nursing home entity and we had several personnel hired but not able to start until the background checks cleared. Summer is a very busy time for employee change over with the hospitals having more openings, more trainees and the new May/June grads entering the workforce after they get their licenses. The business of taking care of people does not stop just because the pols can’t agree and cause a state shutdown.

    1. LN says:

      I’m glad this helps nursing homes but this really doesn’t help out all the vulnerable adults. Many many poor vulnerable adults are on medical assistance and use personal care assistance services. To be a PCA, you also need a provider ID number. The Dept. of Human Services still is not processing provider ID numbers therefore home health care agencies still cannot hire PCAs. There are literally thousands of home health care agencies in MN. A background study means the PCA can work, but the company won’t get paid, so there’s no way companies will hire new people. I wish they would have looked into the process and allowed this essential paperwork to be processed as well as background studies.

  9. Norge says:

    Here is a FACT the Dims just don’t want out there: The Pubs but a BALANCED budget that actually INCREASED spending, with NO NEW TAXES on Daytons desk and he VETOED it…period. He wants More and more and more and higher taxes, that are not on the rich as claimed by the lame-stream and union-goons, but are tax increases on those TRYING to get rich…BIG difference. ALSO people need to know that the Public-Union-Goons have ordered public employees to dominate the internet forums and ‘comments sections’ of all web articles. So 90% of the GOP bashing you see here is Union-goon-ordered! TANSTAAFL!! Keep it shut down all summer!!!

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