DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders announced shortly before the curtain closed on the 2017 legislative session that they had reached an overall budget agreement, but it will take a special session to finish the job.
As the Monday midnight deadline approached, it became clear the Legislature wouldn’t be able to wrap up its work in passing a $46 billion spending package. Only five essential budget-related bills passed both the House and Senate, while other core bills – transportation, health and human services, K-12 education and state agency funding – were uncertain. And although passing a tax or bonding bill isn’t required, there wasn’t any public movement on either.
That changed Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., with the governor calling the Legislature into a special session. Leaders said they expect to have everything finished by 7 a.m. Wednesday.
“I think it really represents true compromise,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said about the agreement. “We’re getting some things we wanted and the governor’s getting some things he wanted. We’re pretty happy with that.”
The unfinished budget bills’ conference committees are expected to begin posting their reports Tuesday morning, leaders said. The parties agreed to a $660 million tax bill, $300 million transportation bill and an education bill worth more than $450 million, along with a $990 million bonding bill.
Dayton said the budget framework is in place but the details are still being worked out.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa). “I think we all knew we had to give up something, which is always what happens, and then get something. In the end, when that happens, Minnesota wins, and tonight I really believe Minnesota won.”
Republican lawmakers, who control both the House and Senate, entered the final three days of the regular session vowing to push ahead with their renewed budget bills without any public agreement from Dayton. The following day, Saturday, was slow under the dome with legislative leaders and the administration negotiating behind closed doors. The $219.8 million omnibus agriculture bill passed, however, capping the night with the first of 10 budget bills finished.
With the Monday sunrise and the clock careening toward adjournment, both chambers passed the omnibus jobs bill. At 3 p.m., with nine hours left in the session, the House picked up work with the omnibus public safety bill.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
The budget process explained — and why it matters
$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session
It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.