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Government shutdown has little local impactfor now
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Few offices in Dawson County are currently being impacted by the partial shutdown of the federal government, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1.

I dont think, as a whole, it will have much of an impact on us right now, said Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle. We will keep right on working and responding to calls of service. It is my understanding that GCIC (Georgia Crime Information Center), and NCIC (National Crime Information Center) will still be operating as usual, due to them being law enforcement agencies. This shouldnt have much of an impact on gun permits.

Probate Judge Jennifer Burt, whose office issues gun permits, agrees.

Law enforcement activities are designated as essential services and do not shut down even if Congress and the President fail to agree on funding legislation, said Burt. The NICS system will continue to operate.

Dawson County programs that are funded with federal grants, however, could be impacted.

Work force development comes to mind, said County Commission Chair Mike Berg. There is over $1 million in judicial grants statewide that are affected.

The Ninth District Opportunity in Dawson County, which receives some federal funds, is currently open.

We are not a government agency, said Community Resource Coordinator Alice Williamson. We did get an email this morning that said they would keep our doors open as long as they could. We dont know what that means.

Similarly, Dawson Countys Family Connection is open, but the situation may change.

I dont think we are affected at this moment, said Nancy Stites, director of Family Connection. I had an email this morning from the state Family Connection. They told us to hold tight; that this is new for everyone; that theyre on top of it, and that they would get back to us.

Heres the facts:

What caused the shutdown? Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress must pass laws to spend money. If Congress cant agree on a spending bill, the government does not have the legal authority to spend money. In fact, it can be a felony to spend taxpayer money without an appropriation from Congress, according to the Anti-deficiency Act.

Why cant Congress agree? The Republican-controlled House has passed a spending bill that maintains spending levels, but does not provide funding to implement the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The Democratic Senate insists the program be fully funded.

Does the shutdown put Obamacare on hold? No. The state-run exchanges for the uninsured opened as scheduled yesterday.

Will I still get my mail? Yes. The postal service operates as an independent business unit.

Will seniors continue to get Social Security benefits? Yes.

Will e-Verify be affected? Yes. The government system to allow companies to voluntarily check the legal work status of its employees is currently shut down.

Are unemployment benefits and food stamps still issued? Yes.

What about school lunch programs? Schools are reimbursed for these costs on a monthly basis and are allowed to carry over funds from the previous fiscal year. The USDA expects most schools will be able to continue providing meals through October.

Does the IRS continue to collect taxes? Yes. All payments would be processed. However, the IRS has suspended all audit activities.

Does Congress continue to be paid during the shutdown? Yes.

This is a partial list of questions and answers compiled by Gregory Korte at USA Today.

Since 1977, there have been 17 government shutdowns the longest lasted 21 days, from Dec. 16, 1995, through Jan. 5, 1996. The cost: $1.4 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.