Session deadline bearing down as lawmakers look for compromises


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

Mohamed Noor

Ex-Minneapolis cop Noor resentenced to 57 months in prison

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's fiancé said he forgives Noor.

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards was right: he is Houdini and his bag of tricks is incredible

Edwards put the entire league on notice with his season-opening performance.

Bob Fletcher

New 'public service' charter school backed by Ramsey Co. Sheriff to open

Efforts to open the school were spearheaded in part by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota to offer free COVID rapid testing at 9 more sites

Three new rapid testing sites opened in Minnesota this week.


Elvis Costello cancels Mystic Lake show, will play vax-requiring First Ave instead

Those who bought tickets to Mystic Lake will be refunded, and need to buy new tickets.


23 Minnesotans infected with salmonella linked to onions

Four of Minnesota residents were hospitalized. None have died.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves smash Rockets in season opener

The Timberwolves showed they have plenty of firepower in a victory over Houston.

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.