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Federal District Courts Remain Open During Shutdown

While most federal jobs are currently at a halt because of the government shutdown, a few are left open in South Dakota. There's one federal organization in Sioux Falls continuing business as usual.

The Federal District Court in Sioux Falls is operating as if nothing has happened. So far, the government shutdown hasn’t made any immediate impact on their employees. Federal District Court Clerk Joseph Haas says Federal Courts are different because of certain powers they hold.

"Federal courts have the authority to use fee money collected in the last fiscal year in the next fiscal year. So we’ve accumulated enough fee money nationally to allow the courts to operate for about ten business days," Haas says.

Haas says if the shutdown nears ten business days, leaders could have a conversation to see what areas are essential and which could temporarily close. He says most concern isn’t surrounding this shutdown but that the government may close down again in the near future.

"You know, we’re all looking at this as not just a shutdown for today but when the debt limit runs out later in the month, we’re going to do this all over again," Haas says.

Haas says the federal courts have veteran staff available to help some of the younger employees prepare for these types of situations. He says the only thing to do is take one day at a time to see what happens.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.