Minnesota lawmakers reconvene for special session; hoping to avoid shutdown

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:49 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:52 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KEYC) — Minnesota lawmakers have returned to unfinished business at the Capitol as they begin a special session to finalize a two-year budget.

DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman says four of the 13 unresolved budget bills are “completely ready to go,” including higher education, agriculture, commerce and energy. She says the public safety budget bill - which she called her number one priority - will likely be “the last bill to wrap” as lawmakers debate police accountability.

Leaders expect the special session to last seven to 10 days.

Lawmakers have until July 1 to avert a shutdown.

“We’re very close. I think we’ll reach a budget by the 30th,” Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato) said.

Southern Minnesota lawmakers like Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) and Frentz say discussions have been going well so far.

Rosen says lawmakers are committed to getting the session done before the deadline.

“We all know that a state shutdown is not good for the state, is not good for anybody, and this type of shutdown this time will be horrific,” Rosen said. “State parks would close, rest areas would close, weddings would have to be canceled. Any state government-run program, those dollars would stop going out.”

Lawmakers also say they’re close to reaching a deal on the eviction moratorium. Both sides say that is a key part of ending the governor’s emergency powers.

“I think we’re going to see successful negotiations to end the governor’s emergency powers within the next 30 days or so,” Frentz stated. “And I think the pandemic has reached a point where we can do that responsibly and see the powers come to an end.”

“Our hope is that we have a vote, we want a vote to eliminate those powers,” Rosen added.

Lawmakers learned last week that the state received $1.8 billion more in revenue than was forecast. That number does not impact the current budget agreement.

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