State bonding bill closer to vote, still has pushback

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Gov. Tim Walz is a step closer to finalizing a state borrowing package worth about $2.5 billion. The bonding bill has passed its second House committee, but still received pushback — including a possible block of the final vote as long as the governor’s emergency powers are in place.

House File 2529, known as the ‘omnibus capital investment bill,’ would improve many aspects of the state – from road work, public safety and community improvement projects.

Walz toured the state for weeks, touting the importance of borrowing the money for these projects. Another sticking point was the jobs it would create. But, that was done in a pre-COVID-19 Minnesota.

"The real way we’re going to partner with the State of Minnesota is by first showing a good faith effort between the governor and legislative body to make sure we’re charting a path forward to reopen Minnesota," said Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake.

This past week, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said he’ll block any vote on the bill unless the governor lifts his emergency powers. He wants to make sure legislators are included in some of the major decisions being made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

House GOP leader vows to block $2B bonding bill until Walz’s peacetime emergency ends

"I’m just wondering why we’re bringing up a bonding bill on Ways and Means [Committee] until we hear a response from the governor," Albright added during a video meeting on Tuesday morning.

Even so, the committee voted the bill through, 17-10. Now, it’s one step closer to the House floor.

"The people are expecting this outcome," Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said in response to the pushback.

"We’re ready to prepare, and [are] prepared to answer to the people of Minnesota with their expectations with a partnership with the state in investing in their hopes and dreams for the future," Murphy added.

The bill now moves to the General Register where it’s drafted, shared with everyone in the House and made available to the public before a vote.