ST. PAUL – While the 2021 legislative session is over, the real work of approving a budget has not begun.
State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) said he is frustrated the legislature was not able to accomplish what was arguably lawmakers’ top task this session: crafting and approving a new two-year state budget.
“It’s really disappointing when legislative leadership continues to wait until the very last minute in order to try and accomplish something,” Hamilton said. “Session has ended, and we don’t have a budget. That’s unacceptable.”
Hamilton noted a “tribunal” of the governor, House speaker, and Senate majority leader unveiled a budget target on May 17, which was the last day of the legislative session. Because of this, a special session must now be called in order to finalize budgets within every area of state government.
Hamilton, who is growing tired of seeing special sessions on a nearly annual basis, said he is going to introduce a bill that would address this problem. His “Stop the Special Session Act” proposal would change the end of the state’s budget cycle from June 30 to May 20 in order to better coincide with the end of each regular legislative session.
“It’s very clear legislative leadership needs a real deadline in order to get the job done on time,” Hamilton said. “The threat of shutting down government if you didn’t finish budget work by the end of your legislative session would create a sense of urgency. And it’s clear our legislative leadership currently lacks a sense of urgency, because the end of session deadline really doesn’t mean anything.”
Hamilton expects a special session to be called in the middle of June.