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Walz calls for special session Friday

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Gov. Tim Walz and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka were all smiles last week announcing they had struck a budget deal. Walz has called for a special session to begin Friday at 10 a.m. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Gov. Tim Walz has issued a proclamation calling for a special legislative session to begin at 10 a.m. Friday after reaching an agreement with House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa).

The agreement calls for a one-day special session to pass the remaining budget bills needed to fund the state government during the upcoming biennium. The session is to adjourn before 7 a.m. Saturday, under the terms of arrangement.

“I am proud that we came together across party lines to build a budget that will improve the lives of Minnesotans,” Walz said in a release. “Now it’s our responsibility to take that budget across the finish line.”

[MORE Read the agreement]

The agreement confines legislative activity during the session to the remaining budget bills and says legislative leaders will not support amendments to the bills except where agreed upon by the leaders and the governor.

It also requires both bodies to “declare an urgency” which would allow suspension of the rules that call for a bill to be given three readings on three separate days, “and any other rules that would prevent passage of the bills” before the Saturday morning deadline.

That requires a two-thirds vote in the House, meaning at least six Republicans would have to join House DFLers. But neither House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) nor Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) have reportedly agreed to the one-day session, making it unclear if there will be enough votes for the one-day session to succeed.

Daudt noted this in a statement Thursday evening, citing Article IV, Section 19 of the Minnesota constitution that details the number of votes needed to declare an urgency. 

"The Governor is apparently expecting legislators to vote on thousands of pages of bills that legislators haven't had time to read," Daudt said. "One of the bills doesn't even exist yet. At this time, there are no agreements in place with the House Republican caucus regarding tomorrow's special session."

But Hortman expressed optimism.

“We have a bipartisan agreement to pass a balanced state budget that provides strong funding for education and secures health care for more than one million Minnesotans,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to completing this work to benefit Minnesotans with Republicans and Governor Walz.”

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