'Tight quarters' for hopefully short session to finish Minnesota budget

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt met Wednesday, a day after agreeing upon a one-day special session to reach a deal on the state budget. Daudt said he feels a sense urgency to agree upon a deal that's right and fast. Heading into talks with Dayton, Daudt said House Republicans still had a fundamental disagreement on universal preschool.

The special session will be held at the State Office Building. No date has been set, but both sides would like a one-day session to finish the state's budget. Speaker Daudt said the House will meet in Room 10 and the Senate in Room 5 of the State Office Building -- a relocation that's necessary because of current renovation work at the Capitol. This venue won't cost taxpayers any money, plus, it has AHS TV and audio already in place, which means the public can join in.

"Well I think what we passed is what school districts are looking for. I know the governor's priority is universal pre-k. We're not convinced universal pre-k solves the problem. What the governor is trying to get at is closing he achievement gap. Evidence does not show that universal pre-k accomplished that goal, so, we're doing what schools have asked for, which is put more money in every classroom," Daudt said.

From the moment Daudt gaveled out the session last week, construction crews swept in and quickly swept out virtually everything inside the Capitol. Nine days later, the House floor is empty and the voting boards are gone, but there's still a piece of history in the making. The legislature hasn't met outside the Capitol since 1881, when there was a fire forcing lawmakers to meet elsewhere.

"It will be tight quarters and it will be unusual, it wouldn't make for a very good space to a long-term session, but we believe it will achieve the job for a short session," Commissioner of Administration Matt Massman said.

Minnesota lawmakers have a July 1 deadline to pass budget bills in order to avoid a partial state government shutdown.

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