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Minn. agencies seek funds despite shutdown

Associated Press / July 6, 2011

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ST. PAUL - With 10 beds and a waiting list 21 people long, the Emily Program had planned to open a second inpatient facility for people with serious eating disorders later this month. Minnesota’s government shutdown has thrown those plans in doubt.

The private treatment program in St. Paul was waiting on a July 18 inspection by the licensing division of the Department of Human Services. The division closed in the shutdown, and “without that last step in the licensing process, the program will be unable to open,’’ said Jillian Lampert, director of licensing for the Emily Program.

Lampert was one of several dozen people who pleaded yesterday before a court-appointed “special master’’ for a continuation of state funding or services during the shutdown. In the second day of such hearings, Kathleen Blatz, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, heard pleas from advocates for the homeless and indigent and sexual assault victims, as well as child care providers, police officers, prosecutors, hospital officials, and more. The hearings have been a lesson in the wide-reaching tentacles of state government.

The shutdown that started Friday resulted from a budget standoff between Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, and Republican legislative leaders. Dayton wants to raise income taxes on the wealthiest residents to provide more money for social services and public education. Republican lawmakers oppose any tax increase. The two sides met briefly yesterday.

A state district court judge has ordered programs essential to life, health, and public safety to continue during the shutdown, and Blatz must make recommendations to her on which programs qualify.

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