Will a State Shutdown Close Minnesota State Parks for 4th of July?
Now that the pandemic is waning and things are starting to open up again in Minnesota, could a looming state government shutdown close things down, just in time for the 4th of July?
Most parts of our lives here in Minnesota are FINALLY starting to reopen again after our 15-month battle with the pandemic. But a new wrinkle is threatening to close some state facilities (like rest areas, and state parks and recreation areas) across the Land of 10,000 Lakes, just in time for our summer vacations this year.
So what is it THIS time that could derail your summer plans? It's a state government shutdown-- and it could be coming our way starting on July 1st. What's the deal with that?!? Well, it's all because the Minnesota state legislature didn't pass a budget during their 2021 session, which adjourned back in May.
According to this MPR story, a state government shutdown could indeed happen this year. And, in fact, the state has already sent notice of a possible shutdown to the 38,000 workers who are employed by the state of Minnesota.
While another shutdown IS a possibility, at this point, those notices are only a formality, because the state is required to notify employees of a possible shutdown 30 days in advance. And seeing as the Minnesota constitution requires that a budget be signed by June 30th, those notices went out earlier this week.
The last time Minnesota experienced a state government shutdown was 10 years ago, during Governor Mark Dayton's first term when he and Republicans in the state senate failed to agree on a budget. That shutdown started July 1st and ran through July 20th, when they finally approved a budget compromise. But it DID shut down rest areas, state parks and rec areas over the 4th of July that year.
And it COULD happen this year too, if lawmakers don't approve a budget before the end of the month. But it's not as likely this year, seeing as Governor Walz and Republican state lawmakers say they have already agreed to a new two-year budget, and are expected to pass it during a special session that will likely be called in mid-June. But, stranger things have happened, right?
Assuming state leaders DO pass a budget, did you know there are several state parks in our neck of the woods where the bugs aren't as bad as other parts of the state? It's true! Keeps scrolling to see where they are-- and why the bugs aren't as bad!