Special session watch: Have governor, lawmakers agreed yet?

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Do we have an answer on whether there will be a special session in the next couple months?

No.

KSTP says Gov. Mark Dayton, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, and Senate Majority leader Tom Bakk met Friday morning.

WCCO says no agreement has been reached, despite all sides involved making "progress."

And it sounds like a decision may not even come Friday. The Pioneer Press reports they've taken away today's artificial deadline, and will keep working toward a possible solution.

Why a special session?

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he wants to know by Jan. 8 (so, today) whether members of the House and Senate will get together ahead of the regular session (scheduled for March 8) to address a few specific issues.

The three main ones:

  • 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 expire this month.

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

Then there's getting Minnesota driver's licenses compliant with federal Real ID standards, which requires repealing a 2009 law before other changes can be made. Whether that needs a special sessions to do has been up for debate this week.

Working groups of lawmakers met Thursday to discuss each issue, to try to hash out some agreements before a special session is called.

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