What's essential in a shutdown? State files petition to explain

What's an essential service?

What's an essential service?

We're 18 days away from a state government shutdown, and the prospect that only essential agencies and services will continue to operate.

But, what's an essential service? Attorney General Lori Swanson took a stab at that in a Ramsey County court filing today: Anything that might deprive Minnesotans of their "life, health, safety and liberty."

Let's makes sure that 9,000 prisoners and more than 600 sex offenders aren't suddenly on the street because guards aren't working, Swanson says. State Troopers must remain on the job. More than 1,000 mentally ill patients shouldn't go without care. Roughly 600,000 Minnesotans on medical assistance keep getting coverage, as should war veterans.


The AG offers these arguments:

  • Unless core services are provided, Minnesota citizens will be deprived of the rights guaranteed by the United States and Minnesota.
  • Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, the state must administer and fund programs mandated by Congress.
  • The core functions of the Executive Branch cannot be terminated by a budget impasse.
  • Fundamental principles applicable to the f Minnesota Constitution also support the requested relief.

The point of Swanson's filing is to ask the court for as special master to determine determine a final list of essential services.