Minnesota Legislature to Convene for 5th Special Session

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House and Senate convene Monday for their fifth special session of 2020 and what’s likely their last chance to pass a public works construction package known as a bonding bill this year.

A Senate committee met Monday morning to walk through a package that would borrow $1.36 billion in general obligation bonds to finance $1.87 billion in projects statewide, once other funding sources are counted.

But bonding bills require 60% majorities in both the House and Senate, and that’s where previous efforts this year have foundered. Getting the required supermajority requires six House Republican votes assuming all Democrats vote yes.

A spokesman for GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said there was no agreement as of Monday morning. Daudt has dropped his demand for an end to the emergency powers that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has used to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. But Daudt wanted spending cuts to offset the costs of the bonding bill so that it doesn’t aggravate the state’s projected budget deficit.

Walz is required by law to call special sessions when he extends his emergency powers and the Legislature isn’t in session., which gives lawmakers the chance to rescind his order. Democrats have blocked GOP efforts to do that in previous special sessions.

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