Bonding bill top priority for both sides in 2020 legislative session

The 2020 legislative session starts Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol, where the top job for state lawmakers will be passing a bonding bill. 

Last month, Gov. Tim Walz laid the groundwork for his $2 billion bonding bill, which Republicans already say is far too costly. Among the governor’s priorities are public safety, higher education, affordable housing and clean water. 

Lawmakers also need to come up borrowing plan to fix the state’s roads and infrastructure. 

The challenge, however, is that Minnesota is the only state with a divided legislature, where Democrats controls one house and Republicans control the other. While they were able to pass a balanced budget last session, the bonding bill could be more difficult because it must pass with a 60 percent majority. That means at least six House Republicans and at least six Senate Democrats must vote yes with the other side.

Hamline Univeristy political science professor David Schultz said it is going to take "an awful lot" to get the bonding bill to pass this session. 

"It’s going to require a bunch of compromises in terms of who gets what because usually bonding bills, as much as we hate to say it, there’s a little bit of pork barrel on that in terms of every district getting something," Schultz said. "So, that’s where its going to take a lot of consensus on that issue to get us to the qualified majority.”

It is also worth noting that all 201 House and Senate seats are up in this year's election. 

“Because control of both chambers are in play, look to see an incredible amount of posturing in this session," Schultz said. "Where again, even though there are some issues, let’s say, for example the cost of insulin, in theory seem simple to solve, but there’s going to be huge divides and I suspect both parties are going to want to use these issues not to resolve them but to use them to run against in 2020.” 

The House and Senate will gavel in at 12 p.m.