MN Government Updates 08.27

Walz Intending to Call September Special Session

Following a tour of two St. Paul small businesses, Governor Walz held a press availability to answer questions from reporters. Many of the questions focused on the civil unrest in Minneapolis last evening. When asked about whether he would call a special session for September, Walz responded, “At this point, it’s our intention to bring them back.”

This comes following speculation the governor might not call the legislature for a special session in September. Following the Minnesota Senate’s decision to not confirm Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nancy Leppink during the August special session, the governor’s office had indicated it was exploring different legal options – including not calling the legislature back into special session in September (so as to avoid another cabinet member potentially being removed) when Walz is expected to renew his peacetime emergency powers for another 30 days. Walz’s current peacetime emergency powers remain in effect through September 11. Since the end of the regular legislative session in May, the governor had said his office has interpreted the language of the peacetime emergency powers statute to mean that he is required to call the legislature back every time he renews that authority.

During the August special session, the legislature did not pursue passing a bonding bill given financial constraints on the state due to planned August bond sale. Walz expressed a desire today to be negotiating a bonding bill with legislative leaders so that it one could be in position to pass during the expected September special session.

Passing a bonding bill requires a three-fifths (60%) vote in support in each chamber.

  • With the DFL holding 75 of 134 House seats, at least six votes are needed from Republican members to pass a bonding bill in the House.
  • With the Republicans holding 35 of 67 Senate seats, at least six votes are needed from DFL members to pass a bonding bill in the Senate.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) have said they support a $1.35 billion bonding bill that also contains various tax provisions. However, since early May, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) has said his caucus won’t provide the needed votes for a bonding bill while the governor’s peacetime emergency powers remain in effect.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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