Special Session Continues Thursday

May 25, 2017 12:31 PM

Republican Legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton are searching for a way out of an impasse, after their plan for a brief special session went off the rails with plenty of work yet to be done on massive $46 billion budget.

The two sides agreed in principle late Monday on a special session with a self-imposed deadline of 7 a.m. Wednesday, but the deadline came and went.

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And the special session will continue on Thursday. Both the Senate and House recessed for the day Wednesday night. Both bodies are in recess until noon Thursday.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt said they will come back and try to finish remaining bills in marathon session.

"We did not have a final agreement on quite a few of the bills," Daudt said. "We were close enough that we felt confident we could get it done. It took us until about eight o'clock the next night to get the final bills wrapped up."

Both chambers had reconvened Wednesday afternoon. The Senate approved a tax bill 44-20, while the House passed a transportation funding bill, which the author called the "most robust in state history." It passed 73-53. 

The tax bill goes back to the House because it was amended to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. when Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl next year.

Meanwhile, the text of the Minnesota Health and Human Services bill drafted during the special session was posted Thursday.

Wednesday, protesters from labor and other progressive groups filled the rotunda of the state Capitol to demand that Dayton veto the bills that passed before the Legislature's special session bogged down.

The demonstrators came from public employee unions, the teachers union Education Minnesota, the faith-based social justice group ISAIAH and others. They were upset, among other things, with an education funding bill that passed the House early Tuesday and awaits a vote in the Senate. They say it doesn't provide enough money for public schools and fails to address a growing teacher shortage.

Other protesters were there to call for a $15-per-hour minimum wage. A Republican-backed bill that Dayton has threatened to veto would prevent cities from raising the minimum wage on their own.

One popular sign read, "#vetoeverything."

KSTP's Tom Hauser contributed to this story.

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AP

(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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