The Minnesota Legislature convened its second special session yesterday at noon. By state law, Governor Tim Walz called the Legislature into this special session to allow it the opportunity to end his extension of the state’s peacetime emergency, which Walz renewed yesterday for another 30 days.
In separate press conferences, House and Senate leaders expressed optimism on current negotiations and hope that a $1.35 billion bonding bill, a tax bill, and a bill related to police accountability could be passed as early as next week. Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) indicated that the tax and bonding bills would be combined to garner enough votes to pass the bills. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) stopped short of outlining details on negotiations to pass more police accountability. He reiterated that the Senate would not support measures to “defund or dismantle” law enforcement agencies.
Limiting or ending the Governor’s executive powers during the peacetime emergency continues to be a flashpoint in negotiations with legislative Republicans. On a 36-31 vote, the Senate voted to end the peacetime emergency. The House did not take up this motion yesterday, but we know that House Republicans are hoping to leverage an end to Walz’s executive powers as part of a global deal on bonding, taxes, and a supplemental spending bill.
Before adjourning, the Senate also took up several policy bills that codify and extend flexibility for some agencies past the eventual expiration of a peacetime emergency. Today, the House Ways and Means Committee will consider a bonding and tax proposal and is expected to continue committee work throughout the week. The full House will also meet late this afternoon, likely to discuss the bills considered by the Senate yesterday.
We expect closed-door negotiations to continue this week as leaders have indicated a desire to come back and pass significant legislation by Monday, July 20.