(Learfield News Service/St. Paul, MN) The 2020 legislative session ended at midnight with a major task unfinished — a bonding bill for state public works projects.
There probably was no deal because lawmakers will likely be back at the Capitol in mid-June to decide whether Governor Tim Walz’s COVID-19 emergency powers continue.
House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt said earlier there would be no bonding bill unless the governor relinquishes that authority. House Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said about that, “Ending the peacetime emergency in exchange for a bonding bill is deal that will never, ever, ever happen. It’s irresponsible to even suggest it.” But Daudt said early this morning (Monday) the world will look different in three weeks. “I think most businesses will be open by that time. I think we’re hopeful that probably all businesses will be open by that time in Minnesota, and I think things will look different,” he said. “So I think we’ll have a better opportunity to pass a bonding bill at that time.”
Republicans voted down House Democrats’ two-billion-dollar bonding package Saturday morning as too expensive, and Sunday afternoon Democrats voted down Senate Republicans’ one-billion-dollar bill as inadequate.
House Republican Leader Daudt said about Democrats’ proposal, “675,169 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment. The state has lost four billion dollars’ worth of revenue over that time, and we’re continuing here as if it’s business as usual?”
Democratic Majority Leader Ryan Winkler responded, “Investments have been neglected, leaving problems for someone else to solve. We need to fix your [Republicans’] neglect. That is why we are bringing this bill forward.”