Republican lawmakers call for special session to resolve Lt. Gov. debate

- Republican state lawmakers are formally requesting a special session to sort out the musical chairs from Lt. Gov. Tina Smith replacing resigning Sen. Al Franken.

Senate President Michelle Fischbach, a Republican, is constitutionally required to become Lt. Gov. with the vacancy created by Tina Smith going to Washington. But, she does not want to give up her seat in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a single seat majority.

On Thursday, Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office said Fischbach cannot hold both offices and the issue will need to be settled in court.

Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate put out a letter on Friday asking Gov. Mark Dayton for a special session to arrange for a Democrat to become Lt. Gov. Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka pledged to limit the agenda of the special session solely to this item.

“I would prefer a much calmer process, a quick special session that the governor gets a lieutenant governor that he wants and Sen. Fischbach retains her seat,” Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Michelle Benson said Friday. “I think we can work together to come to a reasonable conclusion that doesn’t involve going to court.”

Democrats are cool to the idea of a special session because they see a chance to gain a seat in the Senate.

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