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MN lawmakers pass budget in overnight special session

The House and the Senate had to burn the midnight oil to hammer out the $48 billion spending bill.

After working through the night, state lawmakers have emerged from a one-day special session with a $48 billion budget bill.

Both the House and the Senate were able to approve the legislation by the agreed-upon 7 a.m. deadline Saturday morning, meaning the state government officially has funding for the next two years.

The budget bills cover a wide array of funding needs, including education, health care, road and infrastructure improvements, elections and even cybersecurity. 

There are some problems with the work that was accomplished, however; with such a speedy session, lawmakers did not have enough time to properly review the language of the bills.

As the Star Tribune notes, this was a concession that had to be made in order to make this morning's deadline, with the legislators voting to set aside rules that would normally mandate "first, second and third" readings of the bills.

The paper quotes Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, as saying "there will be mistakes" in the legislation.

The special session came about after the 2019 legislative session officially ended on Tuesday, with top lawmakers and Gov. Tim Walz striking an agreement to go into overtime on Friday to get a budget passed.

Both sides have been in talks throughout the week, which gave them a head start going into the special session. 

"Minnesota is showing the rest of the nation that Republicans and Democrats can still find compromise and work together to get things done," Gov. Tim Walz (D) said in a statement, per KSTP. 

Walz says he will sign the bills next week, the station notes.

One bill he won't be signing is the Alec Smith Emergency Insulin Act, named for the Minnesota resident and diabetic who died at age 26 after he was unable to afford insulin.

The bill — which would have levied fees on Minnesota’s three largest insulin providers to fund an assistance program for those who can't afford the life-saving drug — had wide bipartisan support, but was not included in the final votes thanks partly to a miscommunication between the two legislative chambers.




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