Judge says state can take over St. Paul inspections

A Ramsey County court is allowing the state of Minnesota to take over restaurant inspections from the City of St. Paul.

The state says St. Paul hasn't inspected its restaurants frequently enough and was lax in its enforcement of health codes. State inspectors took over the job on Monday. St. Paul went to court in an attempt to block the move. But a judge ruled the takeover would not cause "irreparable harm."

The state first raised concerns about St. Paul's inspection program last year. In response, the city hired seven additional inspectors and budgeted more than $700,000 to improve the program. In June, the the state announced the progress was insufficient.

Fifteen city restaurant, hotel and swimming pool inspectors will lose their jobs as a result of the ruling. While the city lost its motion for a restraining order, it's still suing the state, alleging breach of contract.

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