Shutdown Cash-In: Lawmakers who retroactively claimed salary after spotlight faded

In the run up to the state shutdown this summer, it became a point of pride for House and Senate legislators to declare they would not take their July paychecks. Forty-eight reps and 14 senators joined in solidarity with state workers who were losing their wages.

But now that the shutdown is over and things have cooled off, 18 members of the House of Representatives quietly put in a request to get their money back in full. We have the names, and we called each one to get their explanation for going back on their word.

Some of the reasons may surprise you.


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Minnesota millionaires just don't stay here

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Where have all the millionaires gone?
Our embarrassingly long budget standoff turned up an interesting fact: being a millionaire is apparently a high risk factor for leaving Minnesota.

In the heat of the budget debate, DFL-ers often threw around the fact that of the 7,700 Minnesotans millionaires--defined as people making at least a cool $1,000,000 each year--half don't live here. MPR fact-checked the claim, and it turns out it's true.

What's up with all those rich people leaving?


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Minnesota state parks campsite reservation system back online today

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Interstate State Park is open and enticing.
The shutdown was rough on Minnesotan outdoorsmen and women. No boat or fishing license renewal. Closed state parks. A minefield of poop outside of locked public restrooms.

Well, it's all over now. And starting this morning, the Department of Natural Resource's online campsite reservation system will boot back up. All the choicest spots for Fourth of July weekend 2012 are unclaimed and ready to be snatched.

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Dayton signs budget to end shutdown, state employees back to work tomorrow

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Dayton said he was forced to sign a budget he didn't like.
Minnesota's shutdown is over.

Mark Dayton signed the nine budget bills and three spending bills at 9:00 a.m., ending the state's embarrassing, costly lockout on its 20th day. The shutdown's end is good news for the 22,000 state employees, who will be recalled to work at 6 a.m. tomorrow, according to the state's BeReadyMN.com website.

Dayton also announced that state parks would reopen tomorrow.

But even at the announcement, Dayton sounded a disappointed chord about the budget, saying he was forced to sign bills he didn't like.

"I'm not particularly happy with this budget I've just signed into law," he said. "I signed it because otherwise Minnesota wouldn't go back to work."

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Shutdown will end with Dayton's signature

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America's longest state shutdown could finally end.
By signing his name 12 times, Mark Dayton could end the shutdown this morning.

It took six months of arguing and 19 days of shutdown, but the legislature's special session finally passed 12 budget bills, with the last of them passing at around 3:30 a.m. this morning.

The bitter end of the longest state government shutdown in modern U.S. history was as partisan and personal as everything that came before it.

As the special session approached, and then soared past midnight, the spirit of compromise captured in yesterday's "handshake agreement" between Dayton and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers fell away. When they debated the $35.7 billion budget that Dayton will wake up to find on his desk, legislators and political agents took one last chance to lay blame and point fingers.

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Handshake agreement to end shutdown

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The handshake heard round the state.
Mark Dayton and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers just shook hands in the Capitol in a symbolic end to the shutdown.

After months of acrimony and backbiting, Dayton and the Republican leaders spent the press conference announcing the agreement and congratulating themselves and each other.

"We've worked very hard together," Dayton said. "We've worked literally around the clock for the last four days and night." More »

Shutdown could end today

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Dayton's very special session will begin at 3 p.m.
Mark Dayton has called for a special session of the legislature to meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon. With a fast-track vote, Minnesota's shutdown might be over before happy hour.

The legislature will try to pass all nine budget bills and Dayton's requested $500 million bonding bill all at once. The moment Dayton's signature hits the bill, Minnesota will be back up and running.

Now in its 19th day, the shutdown is by far the longest state government shutdown in modern U.S. history. For the entire month of July, the state government has turned the state parks over to the bears, surrendered broken-down highways to the sweltering heat and left 22,000 state employees out of work.

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Government shutdown not ending today

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The shutdown won't end today -- don't hold out for tomorrow, either.
Mark Dayton and Republican leadership agreed on a deal that would end the state shutdown, but not everyone's on board.

With no special session today, the shutdown, now 18 days old and the longest state freeze-out in modern U.S. history, will stretch at least another day -- if not longer. Maybe a lot longer.

Dayton met with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers over the weekend, with the plan to have a detailed deal in place by this morning. Instead, the governor and GOP leaders issued a joint statement yesterday that included the phrase "considerable progress," but doesn't give much hope for a quick vote to end the lockout.

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Mark Dayton's deal: Good or bad? [POLL]

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Dayton says no one's happy with the deal. Are you?
Mark Dayton announced the deal to end the state shutdown by saying that no one would be happy. The Republican leaders didn't sound thrilled either.

The deal borrows money to pay for the budget, and doesn't raise taxes on anyone. It ends a two-week shutdown that had 22,000 Minnesota employees out of work, and had left highways without necessary construction and forced hikers in state parks to poop in the woods.

So, what do you think? Did Dayton have to make this deal?

Take City Pages' poll, and sound off in the comments section with what you think about the deal that ends the longest state shutdown in modern U.S. history.

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Dayton, GOP agree to end shutdown

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The shutdown ended not with a bang, but with a shrug.
After two weeks of gridlock and three hours locked in his office, Mark Dayton and Republican leaders emerged yesterday with a deal to end the state shutdown. The governor forced a tight grin as he stepped to the microphone, announcing the deal in a downbeat tone.

"We are committed," he said, "to working together over the next few hours and couple days to get this nailed down so we have it ready to go to a special session as soon as possible, which will be very soon."

After that uninspired statement, Dayton went for symbolism, offering control to the Republicans 30 seconds into his most important press conference as governor.More »
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