FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2021, file photo, legislatures are displayed on a monitor as they are sworn-remotely in groups of nine in the nearly-empty House Chamber at the Minnesota State Capitol, in St. Paul, Minn. As the Minnesota Legislature enters the last full week of its 2021 session, lawmakers face long hours of tough negotiations as they seek to agree on a balanced budget by the Monday, May 10, 2021, mandatory adjournment date.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The two top leaders of the Minnesota Legislature said they reached agreement with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz early Monday on broad targets for the state’s next two-year budget, but that lawmakers will have to finish the work during a special session next month.
Walz, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. to announce the details of a budget framework that they once hoped to complete more than a week ago. They agreed it was impossible to nail down the language of the major budget bills and get them passed before Monday night’s constitutional deadline, so they’ll have to go into overtime.
The legislative leaders said the governor would call the special session for no later than June 14, but that the work would begin earlier. Walz is required by law to reconvene lawmakers by that date as a condition for extending the emergency powers he has used to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The task of resolving their differences was harder this year than in 2019 because lawmakers mostly met remotely due to the pandemic and had fewer chances for one-on-one deal-making.
Gazelka and Hortman told Minnesota Public Radio that they expected to nail down final details Monday morning after reaching verbal agreements during weekend talks that ended at around 12:15 a.m. Monday. They also said they expect police accountability measures will be part of the final package, but they didn’t give details.