Minnesota legislative session comes to a heated finish

The last day of the session is always a game of beat the clock as Minnesota lawmakers try to cram in months' worth of unfinished business. Sunday night was no different, but ended on a particularly chaotic note. 

While lawmakers were running out of time in the final hour of the session, the Democratic majority put everything on the table and combined numerous bills into a single package. 

Republicans say they were "steamrolled" by the massive bill, which includes provisions for higher education, energy, transportation, and gun safety. It wasn’t pretty, but Democrats put much of their agenda over the goal, but not without Republicans calling foul.

"The voice of the minority was completely shut out during the end process. We were asking to be recognized, we were asking for the bill… and the speaker chose to ignore what was going on," said Rep. Lisa Demuth, the House minority leader.

"Their [Republicans] requirement for us to work together was that we not do any of the things that Minnesotans sent us to St. Paul to do," said Speaker of the House Rep. Melissa Hortman. "That we not take any action to invest in children and families. That we not take any action to protect reproductive freedom, or take any actions regarding gun violence prevention. And we were simply not willing to forego our values and what we ran on." 

House Republicans called the more than 2,800 pages an "extortion bill." However, in the end, the DFL majority had the votes, and it now heads to Gov. Tim Walz's desk for his signature. 

Over in the Senate, Republicans stalled the bonding bill by running out the clock. 

"Tonight at the end of a really long debate, a noisy one… one of our colleagues in the minority used his voice to make sure that we didn’t pass a bonding bill. The bonding bill came to us late, but we lost it by about 30 seconds. If you follow the rules, it can’t pass midnight. There was one member who was loud and interruptive. So we lost a bonding bill for the people of Minnesota," said Sen. Erin Murphy.

One big development from Sunday night is that lawmakers passed a compromise to keep Uber and Lyft in Minnesota. The deal raises the pay rate for drivers by 20%, so they will now make $1.28 per mile and 31 cents per minute. 

The deal came together after Democrats took a nearly 12-hour recess Saturday to broker a last-minute agreement. 

Every year, lawmakers are criticized for waiting until the last minute to get things done. This session was not much different, but it certainly ended with plenty of fireworks and finger-pointing