The Minnesota Legislature failed to resolve most of the biggest outstanding issues before quietly adjourning at midnight Sunday. Significant items of CGMC concern went unfinished, including a bonding bill and distribution of federal CARES Act money to local governments.
Each side will spin its reasons and likely acknowledge that it is difficult to reach agreements even under the best of circumstances. Legislating in the age of social distancing, conference calls and Zoom meetings has made it even more difficult to get issues resolved. The inability of policymakers to meet face-to-face and the laborious process needed to record votes from legislators participating remotely clearly slowed legislative progress.
In a normal non-budget year, a legislative session with so few accomplishments or major bills passed might be met with loud calls for a special session that would fall on deaf ears. This year, because of the need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that Governor Walz may want to extend his emergency powers, a special session in mid-June seems like a foregone conclusion. It seems like this reality took some of the typical end-of-session deadline urgency out of the mix for legislators who knew they would get another chance to come back and finish their business.
As we head toward a special session, CGMC will continue to push forward on our agenda to ensure that cities are getting the resources they need to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and for the infrastructure needed for future growth.