Legislative priorities remain, special session expected in June

Lawmakers worked late into the night Sunday to push bills through before the session ended.

However, many priorities remained unfinished as chambers adjourned.

A major bonding bill failed to pass before the regular session ended.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said COVID-19 might have played a role in some of the late-night votes.

"The problem with COVID and doing many things by Zoom, some of the intensity of the people around us who bring the pressure to help us get to the end, none of that’s here," Gazelka said. "So people aren’t out in the hallways and the different parts of the end of session… that isn’t there (and) causes some people not to feel the pressure."

Senate Republicans didn’t get the votes they needed to pass their nearly $1 billion version of the bonding bill.

$998M bonding bill falls short in Senate on final day of legislative session

Meanwhile, a $2 billion bonding measure from the DFL-controlled House failed to pass, with each side blaming the other for spending too much or too little.

In response, the Senate DFL Minority Leader sent out a statement that says Republicans prevented needed legislation from passing.

"Senate DFLers were met with silence after months of outreach to Republican legislators in order to pass a robust bonding bill," Sen. Susan Kent said, in part.

However, there were some agreements.

Lawmakers did pass K-12 education funding, a health and human services bill, and an extension for drivers whose licenses are set to expire.

We are expecting to hear from lawmakers on both sides Monday, as well as Gov. Tim Walz.

Typically, lawmakers would meet in person at the end of a session for a ceremony. Instead, Gazelka is pushing that event back until later this summer, with the expectation that leaders will meet in June for a special session.

"When the governor extend his emergency powers, it was clear the legislature was certain to return for a June special session," Gazelka said in a statement Monday. "The coming weeks will give us further clarity on our state’s financial situation, time to evaluate our response to the pandemic, and time to make better decisions. We did our best work this session when all four caucuses worked together closely with the governor, and I look forward to doing exactly that between now and June 12."