The governor and state legislative leaders are going back-and-forth about a special session once again, just 36 days before they're scheduled to be back in St. Paul for regular lawmaking duties.
Gov. Mark Dayton put out a letter Monday, addressed to the top Democrat and Republican in both the House and Senate, asking for a one-day-only special session.
He says there are three issues that "cannot wait until the regular session" to be addressed.
Those issues are the same three that have been considered since the idea of a special session was floated in November:
- Unemployment benefits for laid off mine workers;
- Getting Minnesota compliant with federal ID standards (known as Real ID);
- And measures to address racial economic disparities in the state.
In the letter, Dayton says he's of the understanding there's near agreement on the first two; the third, there's "significant disagreement" on how to best address the problem.
But, he asked those legislative leaders to "be clear" whether or not their parties will "support addressing" those three issues in a special session, which would be limited to one day only.
In the Senate, Minority Leader David Hann (a Republican) released a response letter saying if the governor calls a special session, Hann will work with other legislators. But, he said, he will not pre-sign a letter of agreement beforehand, saying it was "ignored" during 2015's special session.
(According to this legislative document, a governor calls a special session – but it's up to lawmakers to decide which issues to tackle, and for how long.)
Hann's colleague in the Senate, Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL), said in a statement he agrees with Dayton that a one-day special session addressing those three issues is deserved, adding he and his colleagues are "committed" to working toward solutions.
Over on the House side, Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL) said he agrees with Dayton that it's taken "far too long" to come to an agreement, that the DFL House caucus agrees to a one-day limit, and that it should address all three issues.
While Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt (R) said last Friday, after meeting with Dayton and others, that if the governor wants a special session then his administration needs to do more to prepare, MPR reported.