The Legislature adjourned the second special session of 2020 early this morning without passing a bonding bill.
Just last week there appeared to be a glimmer of hope that the Legislature might pass a bonding bill. On July 14, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced a $1.35 billion bill, Special Session HF 3, that contained funding for many CGMC priorities (such as water infrastructure and local roads and bridges) and several individual projects for CGMC member cities. The full House then took the bill up for a vote last night, but it did not pass. Although all members of the DFL majority voted for the bill, a bonding bill requires votes from three-fifths of each body. At least six Republicans would have had to join the Democrats for the bill to pass, but all House members stuck to their party lines.
The major factor that doomed the bill was continuing disagreement between House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and both Gov. Walz and the DFL House majority. In the days leading up to Monday’s vote, Rep. Daudt repeatedly said that he and his GOP colleagues in the House would not vote for a bonding bill due to concerns about the Governor’s continuing peacetime emergency powers. Although many had hoped that these differences could be ironed out, Rep. Daudt announced early Monday morning that his caucus would not vote for a bonding bill. He also pointed to several items in the bill, including rail and transit projects, as non-starters for his caucus. After that announcement, any momentum for passing a bonding bill this special session sputtered out.
Throughout the day on Monday, the Governor and key legislative leaders negotiated behind closed doors, but it appears that police reform was the main focus of those discussions. The House finally came back into session close to 10 p.m. and took up the bonding bill after midnight. Without any Republican votes, the bill failed. The special session adjourned shortly thereafter.
Although Rep. Daudt has raised the possibility that a bonding bill could get done in August, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) has suggested that is unlikely because it is getting close to the November election.
The CGMC is continuing to explore what additional steps can be taken to break this logjam and move forward with a bonding bill.