It's the last week of the legislative session – and there's a lot left to do - Bring Me The News

It's the last week of the legislative session – and there's a lot left to do

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It's the last week of the shortened legislative session, and lawmakers still have a lot of major issues to agree on.

Legislators have until 12:01 a.m. on May 23 to wrap things up, but they've said they can't address other issues until they agree on a comprehensive transportation package, Session Daily reports.

Here's a look at what lawmakers still need to accomplish, and what's holding them up.

Transportation funding

Lawmakers are apparently no closer to passing a transportation package than they were at the beginning of the session, Pioneer Press says.

The problem? They still can't agree on how to pay for needed transportation improvements.

Republicans support spending existing state money by redirecting funds from the state's General Fund, while Democrats say they want to raise new revenue by upping the gas tax, Session Daily said.

Dayton is expected to unveil his own plan to fix the state's roads and bridges Monday morning, calling it a "true compromise," Session Daily says. And Republicans have said how they react to the proposal will depend on if the gas tax is still involved.

“Transportation will be the tipping point,” Gov. Mark Dayton told the Star Tribune. “If that falls apart, I don’t know that we can pull the rest of it together. On the other hand, if we pull that together, I think the framework can be there for the other pieces.”

Bonding bill, tax cuts

Once lawmakers decide on how to pay for the transportation package, it could help them figure out how to use the state's $900 billion budget surplus.

Much of that money is expected to go to various construction projects around the state in the form of a bonding bill.

The House and Senate haven't passed a bonding bill. The Senate tried to last week, but it failed by one vote. Democrats' proposals include: broadband internet, transportation needs, investments in Minnesota's colleges and universities and clean water.

The Republican-controlled House hasn't released its bonding bill proposals, despite pressure from Democrats. But they have said it was budgeted at $600 million – far less than the Senate's $1.5 billion bonding bill.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said it may release details of its bonding bill this week, the Pioneer Press reports.

Both Republicans and Democrats want to also use some of the state's budget surplus to cut taxes – but without a decision on transportation spending, a final tax cut plan is also delayed, Forum News Service says.

A rush to pass bills?

Legislators are not required to do anything more because the state budget for the next year has already been decided, the Star Tribune says.

But – it's an election year, and all 201 legislative seats are up for grabs. That means legislators who are seeking reelection likely want to show they got some things done this session.

That could mean a the Legislature will be in "mad-dash deal-making mode" for the last week of the session, the Pioneer Press says.

Besides budget and spending bills, hundreds of other bills have passed. Forum News Service put together a detailed list of many of those bills. Click here to read it.

Session Daily has a list of bills lawmakers have been working on recently. Among them, is the Real ID law, which the Senate approved last week.

And here's a list of the most recent bills Gov. Dayton signed into law.

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