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Bars may buy alcohol again

ST. PAUL -- Bits and pieces from the Minnesota budget debate and government shutdown:

-- A bill legislators passed early Wednesday allows bars and restaurants with expired liquor-buying permits to continue to make alcohol purchases until July 31. Many businesses that sell alcoholic drinks report that their "buyer's card" expired during the shutdown.

-- No late fee will be charged to obtain a state-issued license, permit or registration.

-- The Minnesota Historical Society's 26 historic sites reopen Saturday.

-- Employees and other Minnesotans may get an update on the ending shutdown at A message posted Wednesday says, "State government will recall employees beginning at 6 a.m. on Thursday, July 21, 2011. All state employees should report to work at their normally scheduled time."

-- Legislators began their special session at 3:05 p.m. Tuesday, four hours after Gov. Mark Dayton called them back. The House adjourned at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday, with the Senate following moments later.

-- Sometimes, House debate on a single major budget measure takes as long as the entire 12-hour, 34-minute special session.

-- Debate consumed far less time than on budget bills in past sessions. One bill took three minutes; the longest debate just topped an hour.

-- House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, interrupted an impromptu news conference of Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, after the Legislature adjourned so he could give her a hug before going to his office. The two were the main Republican budget negotiators.

-- Democrat after Democrat complained that they were not allowed near budget talks. Often, the minority party is involved in negotiations, but even the two DFL leaders were not in many of the negotiating sessions this year.