Gov. Mark Dayton will expanded his list of essential services in a possible state government shutdown today, petitioning Ramsey County Court to include payments to health care and financial assistance workers providing services to those on state aid.
"We recognize the lack of assured provider payments could indeed lead to life threatening situations," Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said in an e-mail. "The Governor's legal filing and contingency plans will be refined to reflect this."[jump]
The programs covered include Medicaid (Medical Assistance), MFIP/DWP, General Assistance, Minnesota Supplemental Aid, Refugee Cash Assistance, Group Residential Housing, MinnesotaCare, Food Support, Minnesota Food Assistance Program, and Adoption Assistance.
He'll file the request a day after four Republican senators asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to stop him from seeking a special master appointed by the court to keeping essential services funded.
Sean Nienow of Cambridge, Warren Limmer of Maple Grove, Scott Newman of Hutchinson and Roger Chamberlain of Lino Lakes say Dayton has set up a "constitutional crisis" because, by law, only the Legislature can appropriate and spend state money.
Dayton and Attorney General Lori Swanson have argued in their petitions that the governor has a responsibility to "protect the lives and safety of the people of Minnesota." [Original documents here.]
UPDATE: Ramsey County Judge Kathleen Gearin said this afternoon she will hear the state's arguments at 10 a.m. Thursday for keeping essential services open in the event of a shutdown.