By Ricky Campbell
The sun rises on the Capitol as the House debates the special session omnibus education finance bill May 24. Photo by Paul Battaglia
When Gov. Mark Dayton, a DFLer, and Republican leaders House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) announced they had reached a budget agreement with 15 minutes left in the 2017 legislative session, but warned they needed a special session, they attached a self-imposed deadline to the overtime: “no later than 7 a.m.” Wednesday.
The sun rose on Wednesday with the House still debating a $650 million tax relief bill, which it passed. Then 7 a.m. came and went — and the biennium plan on how the state should prioritize its services, programs and infrastructure was still in limbo.
After passing the taxes bill, the House waited until 2:30 p.m. to reconvene for debate on what Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska), the House Transportation Finance Committee chair, called, “the largest, most robust transportation bill in the history of the state of Minnesota.” The House passed the omnibus transportation finance SSHF3 bill 74-54.
Down the hall, the Senate passed the tax bill with an amendment allowing bars to close at 4 a.m. the Monday after the Super Bowl, which means the bill must go back to the House for approval.