Twenty days before a possible state government shutdown, about 42,000 public employees in Minnesota began getting layoff notices in the mail Friday.
The workers, 36,000 who work for the state and another 6,000 who work for state colleges, will be out of work if Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature can't reach an agreement on the state budget by June 30. Despite repeated meetings in recent days, the two sides in the standoff don't appear to be anywhere close to such an agreement.
An unknown number of employees, deemed to be "essential" workers, won't face a layoff.
The state's Management and Budget department told workers they will be eligible to apply for unemployment insurance. On Friday, the department also announced a hiring freeze for all positions in the state's executive branch.
Dayton's office issued a statement from the governor Friday afternoon, calling the layoff notices "a grim reminder of a deadline" that looms at the end of the month.
The Republican legislative leadership team followed with a statement of its own, saying "there is no need" for a shutdown -- if Dayton would go along with the GOP's budget.
An earlier update on the shutdown, layoffs and budget negotiations can be read here.