Minnesota legislators have been called back to their seats and an end to the government shutdown appears just hours away.
Gov. Mark Dayton called for a special legislative session to begin 3 p.m. today—19 days into the shutdown of Minnesota government—after approving preliminary versions of nine legislative bills totaling $35.4 billion over the 2011-2013 biennium.
The Legislature's leadership teams have resolved some of the session’s more contentious bills—on K-12 education, state government, jobs and economic development, taxes and higher education. The public safety/judiciary, transportation and environment bills were given the nod Monday afternoon, a day after legislators agreed in principle on a $11 billion Health and Human Services bill.
Rep. Joe McDonald (R-Delano) of District 19B–which includes St. Michael-Albertville–said he has some "concerns with some of the provisions of the agreement, but is glad to see "progress." He said he hasn't read enough of the framework to give his full opinion on the negotiated agreements.
The governor’s $500 million bonding bill is onestipulation of his agreement to the Republican-written budget. The bonding bill, Dayton argues, allows the state to borrow money to pay for public works projects and the thousands of jobs that come with them. Word from the floor is the Legislature will be voting on that in this session as well.
Provided the bipartisan legislature passes the bills, Dayton plans to sign them into law “as they come in” Tuesday afternoon and, effectively, end the shutdown. The governor said it would then take a “few days” to notify and call back to work the 22,000 state workers laid off July 1.