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Special session? Dayton wants to know next week if there will be one

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Will Minnesota lawmakers opt for the special or just stick with the regular menu?

As top legislators get more serious about what would go into a possible special session, Gov. Mark Dayton says he wants a yes or no answer on whether there will be one.

Dayton told the Associated Press Thursday he's asked the leaders of the House and Senate to decide by Jan. 8 whether a special legislative session should be held.

DFL Sen. Tom Bakk and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt were already getting more specific about what lawmakers will vote on if they do head to St. Paul before the scheduled start of the next session on March 8.

Bakk sent a letter to Sen. David Hann, the minority leader, about forming working groups to discuss each of the three issues a special session would address:

  • extending unemployment benefits to laid-off mine workers
  • addressing economic disparities between races
  • bringing Minnesota into compliance with federal ID standards

It was mid-November when Dayton first called for a special session to extend benefits for those laid off on the Iron Range. Some of the workers' benefits will begin expiring in January.

A couple of weeks later, Bakk said if there is a special session, it should also address economic challenges facing African-Americans in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, growing concerns that a Minnesota driver's license will no longer be sufficient ID to board an airplane have led to calls to comply with the federal government's Real ID standards.

Late January session?

Bakk wrote in a letter to the House majority leader this week that working groups on each of the three issues tentatively planned to begin meeting on Jan. 7 to put together legislation.

It remains to be seen if that will be changed by Dayton's desire for a Jan. 8 decision on whether to call a special session.

In his interview with the AP Thursday, Dayton said a special session would need to held by the third week of January.

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