ST. PAUL, Minn., July 18 (UPI) -- As Minnesota's government shutdown dragged into its 18th day Monday, a judge denied bar owners' plea to make the state issue licenses.
Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin rebuffed the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association's petition for the state to keep processing liquor purchasing cards, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
About 300 bars, restaurants and liquor stores across the state already cannot buy any more alcohol because their cards have expired, and the number may reach 425 by the end of the month. The licensing system was deemed a non-critical state function during the shutdown.
Gearin cited the opinion of Special Master Kathleen Blatz that "the effects of the shutdown will be harmful, if not crippling, to many businesses, but the solution to this problem does not rest with the judicial branch but rather those branches charged with enacting the state's budget."
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders said Sunday they had made "considerable progress" on a budget deal, but a special session to ratify it, hoped for Monday, had not been called.