The Minnesota Legislature’s special session did produce a number of policy bills that were left on the table at the close of the regular session back in May, including the passing of an Education Policy bill.
The bill includes a mash up of provisions that House DFLers seemed committed to and were able to survive scrutiny by the Senate GOP. The bill ranges from small changes to fuel contracts to discipline practices in school based PreK programs. Tier 2 and 3 teachers will be required to get training in mental illness.
Despite immense pressure to act on police reform and a bonding bill, the eight days of the special session was not enough for Minnesota House and Senate lawmakers to reach agreement on several priority bills that included overhauling public safety and police accountability, allocating federal coronavirus funds to local units of government and a bonding bill.
In the waking hours of last Saturday morning, both bodies adjourned sine die.
“Anger and frustration as a failure to accomplish major progress on the main issues in front of us — that Minnesotans need us to take action on — is certainly warranted in this situation,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) from the House Floor just after 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
“I actually thought we were going to get something done until late last night,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake). “We need a break from each other and this place.”
A break they will have, at least until mid July when Gov. Tim Walz is expected to reissue the peacetime emergency order for another 30 days. That action will require him to call the legislature back into what would then be the second special session of 2020.
Perhaps these additional weeks will allow negotiators to work out some compromises behind the scenes and come in with agreed-to items. But in a heated election year and both sides wanting to get their bases fired up amidst the pandemic, compromise might not be in the cards this summer.