ST. PAUL – With a state budget needing to be approved before July 1, the Minnesota Legislature returned to St. Paul after being called into a special session on June 14.
“Considering the House and Senate majorities did not set budgets for any area within state government before our regular session ended, lawmakers have much work to accomplish in a short amount of time,” said State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska).
Torkelson said this is the first time in recent memory that no budget bills were approved during a regular session.
He noted several bills have begun making their way through the process and will soon be debated on the House floor. One of the first bills was the agriculture and broadband finance proposal. The proposal supports the Department of Agriculture and also funds programs relating to broadband availability, biofuel infrastructure, Agricultural Best Management Practices loans, farmer mental health specialists, farm safety grants, urban and youth agriculture grants, and farm-to-school programs. The plan received strong bipartisan support in the House with a 111- 20 vote.
“The ag bill is a perfect example of how good legislation can come together if Republican and Democrats can set aside their differences and do what’s best for farmers,” Torkelson said. “I’m hopeful legislative leadership will continue down this path and we will ultimately pass a number of budget plans that will be supported by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”