We continue to anticipate that a special session will begin June 12 as Governor Walz must convene the Legislature in order to extend his emergency powers related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exact plan for a special session and what the Legislature will seek to accomplish during it is not entirely clear, but the list of issues that need to be resolved is long. A bonding bill, resolution of the federal CARES Act money, further support for small business, and potentially a tax bill are all items left on the table as the 2020 regular session adjourned.
The death of George Floyd and the resulting unrest make what was already going to be a challenging special session even more difficult. There is no question that there will be significant pressure on the Legislature to take action on police reform and efforts to rebuild and support neighborhoods touched by the unrest. It is likely that all these issues, especially a bonding bill, will get tied together as the Legislature works through a special session.
There is no real clarity as to how a special session might be structured or how long it might be necessary to complete the Legislature’s work. For instance, this special session could look like a regular session in that bills and proposals are worked out through the normal committee process with input from the public. Or, as is usually the case with a special session, it is possible that all the major decisions will be made between the Governor, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House with little input from the public or even most legislators. Hopefully, these questions will come into greater focus next week.