MLBA Government Shut Down Update July 15, 2011

MLBA Government Shut Down Update
July 15, 2011
The end to Minnesota’s historic state government shutdown is in sight. This is what has happened within the past forty-eight hours:

  • The deal as laid out by the Governor and legislative leaders calls for new one time revenue of $1.4 billion dollars over what the legislature had previously proposed.  This revenue will come from two sources: 1) a further shift in payments to school districts that will yield $700 million; and 2) issuance of $700 million of bonds that are secured by yearly payments made by tobacco companies to the state of Minnesota.
  • The deal also requires: 1) removal of all policy language that had previously been requested – there was a list that the legislature had presented to the Governor just before shutdown; 2) removal of language that called for an across the board cut of 15% of all state agency personnel; and 3) that a bonding bill of at least $500 million be enacted.
  • There are no new taxes on alcohol or anything else.  There is no gambling included.
  • This means that there is an additional $1.4 billion that will be added to the bills that the legislature passed.
  • Currently, because of the shutdown all state office buildings are locked.  A citizen, or lobbyist, cannot get into the Capitol or any other state building.  They are locked.  State employees that are essential can gain access through their key cards.  Thus, there are very few employees around to speak to about what is actually going on.
  • Those employees that are in the capitol are working feverishly to get the bills done.  A deadline of 10:00 p.m. Friday night has been issued by legislative leadership to get all bills completed.   Many are very close.  After that, Sunday will be utilized to get the bills in final form and ready for introduction.  The sense is that the Governor could call a special session as early as Monday morning.
  • Currently, the Special Master is still considering MLBA’s petition regarding “Buyers Cards.”  It is our belief that she will refrain from issuing an opinion because it is very evident that the legislature will likely get everyone back to work in the next couple of days.

We have been in communication with the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. They have told us the following:

  • The division is wishful that they will be back to work by Wednesday of next week.
  • There were no demands to remove Miller/Coors products from our retail stores.
  • They will be prioritizing the processing of buyers cards, temporary liquor licenses, and back logged requests as those that were in the process at the time the state government shut down. They are putting on extra staff to expedite this process.
  • Don’t expect to be first in line, wait your turn and be patient and helpful in your request.

The Director wishes to thank those businesses that were involved in this unfortunate situation for their patience and understanding.
More information will be posted on our site once it is obtain from the various sources.

Frank Ball
Executive Director, MLBA