By Katie Spielberger
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, left, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt have a heated discussion during May 22 debate of the omnibus capital investment bill. Photo by Paul Battaglia
The words “sine die” had barely been uttered before legislators started talking special session.
When the 2016 legislative session began less than 11 weeks ago, lawmakers knew they had their work cut out for them. Beginning on the latest start date in recent memory due to Capitol construction (with no running water and only portable toilets), leaders weren’t convinced they find agreement on the session priorities of transportation, taxes and bonding.
A bonding bill still seemed possible in the last minutes Sunday before the constitutionally mandated midnight deadline, and Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday that he hadn’t given up hope on a transportation compromise until the final hour of session. But a sticking point in transportation negotiations — state funding for the proposed Southwest light rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie — also derailed the bonding bill at 11:57 p.m. when the Senate amended the bill just as the House adjourned sine die.
Nevertheless, House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said Monday that the session had been “successful” overall, including the passage of a $182 million supplemental budget and $257 million tax bill, which he called “true compromise bills.”