House Speaker Kurt Daudt sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton today that could help overcome the impasse which is preventing a special session from taking place.
Daudt wrote to Dayton that he would like to meet with him and the three other legislative leaders Tuesday in order to work through the remaining obstacles and get a signed agreement for a special session. (Unfortunately, the House minority leader is in Italy, so it appears he would not be likely to attend.)
The meeting could be helpful in finding resolution on the largest remaining obstacle, a new law which allows counties decide whether to have audits performed by private firms instead of automatically going through the State Auditor's office. Dayton approved the provision in May and, so far, has refused to call a special session unless the Legislature agrees to repeal it. In his letter, Daudt urged the governor to scrap the auditor condition so we can get on with the special session.
One misconception that has been perpetuated on this issue is that the provision in question arose "in the middle of the night, at the last minute, when nobody was looking." That simply is not the case. This legislation surfaced long before it ultimately was included in a conference committee report which was passed on April 20, nearly one month before it was included in an omnibus State Government Finance package for final passage.
There is no need to hold up a special session over this provision and delay repassing important bills to fund K-12 education and more. The auditing change would not happen until the summer of 2016, after next year's regular legislative session is set to take place, so the issue could be re-examined then if it is deemed necessary. The 9,400 state employees facing layoffs because of the governor is dragging his feet would appreciate it if he set this issue aside for now and called a special session so we can put a complete state budget in place.
Rep. Dale Lueck