It’s one for the history books. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton put his signature on a new budget today, marking the nation’s longest state government shutdown in 10 years. The government shutdown began July 1 and 22,000 state workers were sent home. Critical to truckers, the state’s rest areas were shut down.
Last week, the governor and legislative leaders agreed in principle to a state budget framework after duking it out over taxes and spending. The governor’s OK came soon after legislative leaders approved a deal resulting from a special session that started at 3 p.m. Tuesday and lasted until early Wednesday morning.
Because of the shutdown of state government services, the state’s websites, including the DOT has been stagnant since July 1. However, shortly before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, those web sites began to show some life, advising state employees to report to work at their regular start time but no earlier than 7 a.m. Thursday, July 21.
Details were still emerging Wednesday on how soon agencies would be reopened and how quickly rest areas and state parks would be open. The state normally operates 10 travel info centers, three welcome centers and a total of 77 safety rest areas, along with a number of “wayside” stopping points. At press time, when they will open remains unknown.