Special session likely to be costly even with few accomplishments
Gov. Tim Walz called the Minnesota Legislature into special session with hopes of agreement on police accountability reforms, COVID-19 funding for local governments and more than a billion dollars worth of building projects. None of that happened, but Minnesota taxpayers will still be stuck with the bill.
According to the Minnesota House of Representatives, the session will likely cost between $50,000 and $60,000 for per diem, lodging and mileage for the eight-day session. The Minnesota Senate projects the special session will cost that chamber about $48,000, based on expenses of about $6,000 per day.
"With no prior agreement on the major items on the agenda no action occurred," says Carleton College political analyst Steven Schier. "Anytime the legislature doesn’t act on important items it’s bad for the legislature. So the additional expense and additional security over the last several days with no result legislatively is a frustrating outcome for Minnesota voters."
The special session expenses would have been about $50,000 higher under ordinary circumstances, but the coronavirus forced changes in usual legislative rules. Dozens of the 201 legislators participated in the session remotely from their homes around the state. That saved the state thousands of dollars in lodging and mileage costs.
Another special session is likely in July, but lawmakers hope to have pre-agreement on bills so the session is much shorter and less expensive.