Update: Legislators reach budget deal with Dayton; need a special session to OK it

Lawmakers have until midnight to pass bills.

Minnesota lawmakers did not quite meet their Monday night deadline for getting their work done. But less than an hour before the clock struck midnight, the governor and legislative leaders announced they have a budget agreement.

They'll just need a special session to approve it.

Under rules laid out in the state Constitution, Monday was the last day of the 2017 Minnesota Legislature. The biggest assignment facing legislators was passing a two-year budget that's expected to total roughly $46 billion.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate and their aides have been meeting with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and his staff for days, trying to work out agreements on the 10 bills that together make up the state budget. They only got five of the 10 passed before midnight.

But after 11 p.m. Dayton emerged with House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to announce they'd reached an agreement in principle on the remaining bills, including big ones like taxes and health care.

Since there wasn't enough time left to approve it before they had to adjourn, Dayton called a special session. It began right after midnight but the plan was for lawmakers to go get some sleep and come back Tuesday for a push to the finish line, The Associated Press reports.

"We reached across the table and shook hands," Gazelka told the Star Tribune. Dayton and the legislative leaders also signed a paper – called a term sheet – in which they promise not to change the agreement or add anything else during the special session.

Here's what happened before the late-night announcement.

7 p.m. – Public safety is done

That public safety bill was approved by the Senate, it'll go to Dayton now.

A special sessions is also appearing more likely, considering they've got five hours now (or less, depending on when you're reading this) to finish and pass five bug budget bills. And Sen. Paul Gazelka, a Republican leader, is saying:

There's also been some fun social media sniping going on, like this exchange between the Minnesota House DFL, a conservative tweeter, and State Auditor/2018 gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto:

5:15 p.m. – Dinner break, public safety almost done

There's been a little movement from Monday morning, and at about 5 p.m. lawmakers went into recess so they could grab some dinner. (They will probably be at the Capitol until after midnight.)

Monday afternoon the House approved the compromise bill (referred to as a conference committee report) covering public safety and finance, by a 98-36 vote. The Senate took it up around 5:30 p.m., after returning from break – if they approve it, it'll go to Gov. Mary Dayton.

That would still leaves five sizable budget bills to get done in less than seven hours here.

One point of interest: A compromise in the conference committee report for the public safety bill.

Democrats scored a victory by forcing out language that would have made freeway protesting a harsher crime. In exchange, the Pioneer Press reports Republicans got to include language that specifically bars undocumented residents from getting a driver's license – a sticking point that held up the Real ID debate for a bit. The People of Color and Indigenous Caucus put out a statement arguing that law makes Minnesota less safe.

Meanwhile Rep. Nick Zerwas, who spearheaded the protest penalties bill, tweeted he thinks it'll come back as a standalone next year.

10 a.m. – Four of 10 bills sent to Dayton

They're making some progress – so far the House and Senate have passed four of the 10 budget bills:

– Lawmakers passed three bills Sunday, sending them to Dayton's desk, MPR News reports. They include bills on agriculture; environment; and higher education.

– And on Monday morning, both chambers passed a jobs and economic development budget bill, so that's off to Gov. Dayton's desk, too. This bill doesn't include an internet privacy provision that had bipartisan support.

It's unclear if Dayton will sign these bills.

There are still six more budget bills lawmakers are working on. They are bills relating to: health and human services; public schools; taxes; transportationpublic safety; and state government.

Special session looming?

If lawmakers don't pass all the bills in the budget by midnight Monday, they'll have to return for a special session to finish their work in order to avoid what happened back in 2011 – the longest government shutdown in state history.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, told the Pioneer Press late Sunday he's hopeful the Legislature will meet the deadline, but some bills could take 12 hours to draft, noting "you want to make sure you get that right." (Remember last year? A typo in a tax cut bill that was pushed through at the very end of the session prompted Dayton to veto it.)

MPR News has a breakdown of possible scenarios if no deal is reached by the deadline.

If you want to follow along with Monday's session, you can watch a live stream from the House floor here. For live coverage from the Senate floor, click here.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.


Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.


More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths marks MN's 2nd-highest total

The deaths continue to surge amid the worst of the pandemic so far.


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.

Legislature finally passes $46B budget – but is a Dayton veto imminent?

Health, transportation and public works bills were all agreed last night.

Dayton is 'genuinely undecided' on whether he'll sign the budget bills

"I'm unhappy about features in just about every one of the bills that we finally negotiated."

Here's where things stand with Minnesota's budget negotiations

It's Wednesday morning and still no budget has passed.

Special session likely as budget talks become increasingly fractious

Early calls of bipartisanship appeared to have disappeared.

Dayton isn't thrilled with health insurance bill, won't sign it – but it'll become law

Yes, generally a bill gets the governor's signature before becoming law.

Minnesota GOP leaders say this year's legislative session wasn't all that bad

GOP leaders said lawmakers had a successful session – which included lifting the Sunday liquor sales ban.