MN Zoo To Stay Open During Government Shutdown

Lemurs at MN Zoo

Grizzly Bear at Minnesota Zoo

MN Zoo avoids grizzly funding problem. Court rules it can stay open during government Shutdown

Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled today the Minnesota Zoo may stay open during the government shutdown.

The Zoo receives only about 29% of its funding from the state of Minnesota and had appealed a court order that it must shut down because it is not part of the core services of state government. All but core state services shutdown on Friday since the Republican led legislature and Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) had not reached agreement on a budget.

Judge Gearin said the money the Zoo gets from concessions, parking and admission receipts is a “standing appropriation that does not require specific biennial legislative action” and has already been “lawfully appropriated”. Judge Gearin ordered the State’s Budget Commissioner to make payments from those accounts even though they will be used to support “non-core” functions at the Zoo.

Previously Judge Gearin had ruled the only money that could be spent was for keeping the animals safe and the zoo secure.

Zoo To Reopen 9 AM Sunday. Horse Racing Gets Thumbs Down During Shutdown

The Zoo is closed today, but is open for a Monkees’ concert tonight. It is possible the zoo could be open as early as Sunday. A spokesperson for the Zoo says the gates will be open for the public starting 9 AM Sunday morning. The 4th of July weekend is one of the zoo’s largest money making weekends.

In a separate case, Judge Gearin ruled against Canterbury Park’s request to continue horse racing and Minnesota Harness Racing request to continue operations during the government shutdown. Gearin denied the request saying that the Racing Commission is required to make a biennial request for funding to the legislature. She said the difference between these cases and the Zoo’s case is the zoo appropriations do not require legislative approval.

Judge Gearin Order On MN Zoo

Related Video: The Zoo’s day in court

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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