Skip to main content

Session deadline bearing down as lawmakers look for compromises

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

There's one week left in the 2015 legislative session and lawmakers are beginning their last week in regular session with no deal on a number of key issues.

Legislative leaders including House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk met Sunday afternoon and evening with two of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s commissioners, as well as Legislative Auditor James Nobles for private budget talks.

The Pioneer Press reported that lawmakers are divided along party lines about how much to spend on education, transportation, health care and taxes. The Star Tribune reported that legislators are facing a "volatile mix peppered with dozens of...disputes large and small between the DFL and GOP."

MPR News reports that funding health care remains a major stumbling block, with House Republicans and Senate DFL'ers facing a $1.4 billion gap in their competing budget bills for health and human services. House GOP plans would eliminate the 20-year-old MinnesotaCare program and move its low-income participants onto MNsure. DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has repeatedly said that proposal "is a non-starter."

House Republicans are also seeking big new tax cuts, while Senate Democrats seek a substantial transportation spending increase that could only be paid for by some type of tax increase on drivers.

"They’ve got a really tough uphill argument to make that we need a gas tax,” Daudt said Sunday.

Lawmakers do have the financial padding of a projected $2 billion budget surplus as they work to strike deals on issues still not resolved. The governor, Bakk, Daudt and other leaders will have a busy week as they work to resolve numerous issues in time to avoid a special session.

“It’s doable. But it’s going to take a lot of cooperation on their part,” Dayton said Sunday, referring to House Republicans. For the session to end on time, Dayton said, Republicans must accept they are dealing with a DFL governor and Senate majority, and only expect to get about a third of what they want.

Daudt said he remains optimistic about an agreement coming together to adjourn the session on time.

If lawmakers don't get their work done in time, it will be more problematic than usual. Contractors working on renovating the Capitol plan to start clearing out the House and Senate chambers the day that session ends. A delay brought on by a special session would slow the timeline for completion and would likely add to the cost for the renovation.

Next Up

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.

NearNorthEncampment

Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.

21a171abc8c6a3619739a786eed516a563206c38bec4a972944e80fa213b9ab6

Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.

10.6 Tempest Weather Thumbnail

Drought tightens grip as Twin Cities reaches 'extreme' level

By this time last year, drought was fading fast in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 11.23.49 AM

Woman missing since car crash has been found

The 49-year-old is believed to have been driving when the crash happened.

COVID-19 vaccine testing Mall of America

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, Oct. 4

The 7-day average number of cases has been dropping.

Related