Special session underway to pass unfinished Minnesota budget

A special session is now underway at the Minnesota State Capitol after lawmakers missed the deadline Monday to finalize the new budget.

Forty-five minutes before the midnight deadline on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders announced the framework of a budget deal. Dayton called a special session to get the unfinished budget bills passed. It began at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday and will end at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

After both the House and the Senate gaveled back in, lawmakers spent the next few hours getting their ducks in a row before adjourning for the night.

“This will not be the all-nighter,” Speaker Kurt Daudt said. “Tomorrow night will be the all-nighter to get things done. But, we’re optimistic it will happen.”

What made the special session possible was an 11th hour budget deal between Dayton and Republican leaders or at least the framework of a deal that calls for $660 million of the state surplus to be used for tax relief, $300 million for roads and bridge repairs and $447 million on education, including $50 million to expand the governor’s preschool program.

“We have the framework [and] details to work out,” Dayton said. “Time to get things resolved.”

While the budget is their top priority, lawmakers are also hoping to pass a $990 million bonding bill during the special session, although it's not required. No bonding bill was passed last year after it failed in the final seconds of the session.