The Latest: Minnesota Legislature Meets in Special Session
Here are the latest notes from today's special session at the Capitol:
The Minnesota Senate has rejected a bill to fund environmental and agricultural programs that's key to a successful wrapup to the legislative session.
But the rejection doesn't mean a shutdown's imminent. New votes may still be taken Friday after the bill fell just one vote short of the threshold needed for passage.
Many Democrats were unhappy with what they saw as environmental losses in the bill.
A bill that will deliver hundreds more dollars to schools for each student has passed the Legislature.
The $17.2 billion bill provides back-to-back 2 percent increases in the per-pupil formula. It also has a substantial increase in preschool scholarships for disadvantaged children.
The House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill during a Friday special session, putting the largest remaining piece of the state's budget in place.
The bill now headed to Gov. Mark Dayton doesn't include new grade for 4-year-olds as the governor sought. But the bottom line is larger than a bill he vetoed, coming in at $525 million.
It also allows school districts to resume classes this year before Labor Day, which falls on a late date this year.
A bill with crucial funding to enforce stricter requirements for buffers between crops and waterways is on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton.
The House and Senate on Friday passed a bill spending tax dollars earmarked for arts and environmental initiatives. It's one of several bills the Legislature is working to pass during a special session.
Dayton pegged buffer zones as a top priority this year to protect water quality. He and lawmakers worked out a compromise with agricultural groups generally requiring 50-foot buffers along public waterways.
The bill passed Friday includes more than $20 million to help implement the buffer strips. It also contains money to restore a collection of massive murals inside the Capitol worth an estimated $1 billion.
Minnesota's House of Representatives has passed a beefed up public school budget bill, Gov. Mark Dayton's top priority that triggered a special session.
Dayton vetoed the Legislature's bill with an additional $400 million for Minnesota schools, citing his desire for more funding and a prized preschool initiative. Sensing there wasn't enough support among lawmakers, the Democratic governor dropped his insistence for a half-day preschool program and settled for bringing up the new infusion to $525 million.
Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, says a bulk of the new money will go toward increasing the state's per-pupil funding formula. It also includes extra money for early learning scholarships, school readiness programs and winnowing down wait lists for Minnesota's Head Start program.
The House passed the bill on a 115-10 vote, sending it to the Senate to take up. Dayton has indicated he will sign it.
Minnesota legislators have passed a revamped jobs and economic development budget with additional money for broadband Internet development in rural Minnesota.
Lawmakers returned to St. Paul Friday in special session and quickly started chipping away at the unresolved pieces of the state's budget. The jobs bill, along with an environment/agriculture bill, was seen as two potentially sticky deals awaiting votes, especially in the Senate.
But that chamber easily passed the bill, 50-14.
The revamped bill has grants for broadband development up to $10 million. It also has added unemployment benefits for steelworkers hit by recent layoffs and poultry industry workers affected by bird flu fallout.
The fate of a key piece of Minnesota's budget is still murky.
Minnesota's Senate took up a controversial budget for environmental and agricultural programs Friday morning but delayed an expected vote. Senate Majority Leader Bakk says they need time to convene with members.
The bill has split Democrats who control the chamber. Many urban Democrats are upset with changes they say would harm the environment and are urging their colleagues to reject it. And Republican senators who helped pass it in May say they're less likely to approve it on a second try.
The outcome of the controversial budget bill is a major factor in whether lawmakers can finish a special session on Friday or may need extra time.
The Minnesota Senate has taken up what's expected to be one of the most difficult bills in a special session - one that funds agricultural and environmental programs.
The bill was among several vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton last month, setting the stage for Friday's return by lawmakers after leaders finally came to agreement on the last pieces of the budget.
But their agreement doesn't mean rank-and-file lawmakers will follow suit, and many Democrats are unhappy with what they see as losses in the bill.
Sen. John Marty, a Democrat from Roseville, quoted a newspaper story that called the bill "environmental vandalism" as he spoke on the Senate floor. He said lawmakers should pull it for a makeover.
But Sen. David Tomassoni, an Iron Range Democrat, said his colleagues should pass the bill because of what it does in areas such as aid to farmers hit by bird flu. He says opponents are making too big a deal out of regulatory changes.
The gawking has quickly turned to lawmaking for members of the Minnesota Legislature.
The Legislature returned Friday in special session to take up several budget bills vetoed last month by Gov. Mark Dayton, and they did it in temporary quarters at the State Office Building due to construction at the Capitol.
The House quickly passed a package that funds jobs, economic development and energy programs, but by some $24 million less than what had passed in May.
Democratic Rep. Tim Mahoney says the revamped bill was "nothing to celebrate." He says lawmakers are missing a chance to invest money in economic development in rural areas, including broadband.
The Democrats' minority leader in the chamber, Paul Thissen, said all the bills on Friday's agenda include too little investment.