Lawmakers hammering out budget, tax bills as special session starts | KSTP.com

Lawmakers hammering out budget, tax bills as special session starts

KSTP
Updated: June 14, 2021 06:21 PM
Created: June 14, 2021 07:57 AM

Minnesota lawmakers are back at the Minnesota State Capitol Monday for the start of a special session.

Gov. Tim Walz has said he's optimistic it'll be a quick session, as lawmakers hammer out budget and tax bills.

However, it seems they still have a long way to go on police reform and other issues that have divided the legislature.

The state government could shut down at the end of the month if a budget agreement isn't reached by then.

Walz officially extended his emergency powers for another 30 days. Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt introduced a resolution to bring up a vote on emergency powers, but it failed 68-64 with nearly all Democrats voting against it.

"Everybody, save one person, realizes the pandemic is over," Daudt said in introducing the resolution. "And today I'm going to give you an opportunity to send a message to that last person who's holding on: our governor."

But DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said the governor should hold on to emergency powers.

"The emergency is certainly far better than it has been in the past but the need to have an orderly wind down to our COVID-19 pandemic remains," Winkler said.

It takes both the House and Senate to end the emergency powers. The Senate did not vote on emergency powers Monday. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said they're focused on passing a budget and avoiding a government shutdown.

"It's our intention, both the Senate and the House, to get done in a timely fashion," Gazelka said. "It's never easy, but we will not go to July 1."

DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman said the toughest bill is expected to be the public safety bill with police reform.

"Public safety is, as everyone expects, is probably going to be the last bill to wrap," she told reporters. "It's a little bit more challenging on both the finance side and the policy side."

If budget bills are not passed by June 30, the state could face its third government shutdown in the past 16 years.

Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and KSTP.com for updates on the special session.


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