Unfortunately, the special legislative session ended at 6:30 Saturday morning with several unresolved major issues, including bonding, police reform, and the distribution of federal COVID funds to local units of government.
Major sticking points centered around police reform where Democrats wanted to impose statewide reforms on all police officers which Republicans believe would ultimately endanger public safety, when the problem primarily involves the metro area.
Another area of contention was the DFL’s demand for over $300 million of additional spending from Governor Walz's supplemental budget proposal when the state already faces a $2.5 billion deficit. Republicans have requested a list of reductions in state spending, however the DFL and the Governor have opposed any state spending reductions.
This demand for additional spending is what ultimately blew up an agreement to distribute $841 million in federal CARES Act Funding passed specifically set aside for local units of government. The Senate passed the bipartisan compromise bill last Tuesday 62-4. The governor then insisted on adding in unrelated demands that had not been agreed upon.
Federal CARES Act dollars would provide millions to local communities and counties in our area. These federal dollars would help pay for COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 response for hospitals, PPE for front-line workers, financial support to local businesses, and will help keep our local governments solvent as they deal with extra expenses as a result of the pandemic.
I know how critical these local funds are and understand the urgency of the situation. It's truly unfortunate that the governor and Democrats opted to play politics rather than doing what's best for local governments throughout the state.
We all face times of crisis in our family and personal lives where we must make tough choices in order to get through. Our state is in a crisis and we need to make tough choices in order to get through this difficult time.
There is a strong likelihood that Governor Walz will call the legislature back for another special session no later than July 12th. We will continue to work on these issues in the interim and I will keep you posted with additional information.
Have a great week,