There may be plenty of monkey business, some squeaking and a bit of biting but there will be no animals at the Capitol Tuesday night.
Animals from the Minnesota Zoo had been expected to visit the august halls as part of a presentation about the Zoo and the Minnesota Conservation Corps.
But, due to an obscure but recently rediscovered rule banning non-service animals from Capitol grounds, the animals will not be welcome. The rule says that animals are prohibited "without the express prior approval of the commissioner of administration or a delegate."
Although the Zoo has brought animals to the Capitol before, Mary Robison, the Zoo's chief financial officer, said that neither the Zoo nor the state could find any documents that they did so with express prior approval.
Department of Administration Commissioner Steven Cronk said that this year the agency received requests from groups that wanted to bring a large number of dogs to the Capitol, which prompted a review of their policy on animals at the Capitol.
The agency asked the Zoo not to bring animals to the Capitol until a new policy is complete, Robison said.
Rep Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, did not take to the denial well. He tweeted: "NOT MADE UP:Today-Dept of Admin refused 2 allow MN Zoo 2 bring animals 2 legislature 4 display. Proving again that YES government is to big." "
Cronk said the new policy should be developed in time for the Zoo's annual Zoo Day at the Capitol on March 21, when snakes, sloths and skunks join lawmakers under the marble dome.
Robison said the Zoo will be happy to comply with the new policy once those procedures are in place.