Minn. court oks background checks during shutdown

Published 1:50 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota judge has ordered the state Department of Human Services to restart background checks for those who work with vulnerable populations as the state’s government shutdown reaches its seventh day.

Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin also ruled Thursday that several services should continue, including emergency aid programs and blind training.

But she denied a request from a program that helps developmentally disabled people find housing.

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Gearin’s rulings agree with recommendations from former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, who is serving as a court-appointed referee on shutdown programs and services. Blatz’s recommendation says the disabled-housing service is important but the state doesn’t have an obligation to the federal government to keep its funding going.

Gearin also ordered funding to schools for special education costs to continue.