The Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn by midnight on May 17, yet Senate Republicans have spent the past week drawing ultimatums and refusing to negotiate on important numbers needed for the Legislature to finish its work on time.
The “budget targets” refer to spending agreements for each budget area that must be agreed upon by the House majority, Senate majority, and governor. Without those numbers, conference committees cannot finish writing the state’s budget for the next two years. Without these budget targets, and without the Republicans’ willingness to negotiate in good faith, it seems certain that a special legislative session will be called in June to complete the work for our state’s budget.
The federal funds for COVID-19 relief that came to Minnesota this week has, according to leadership, stepped up the budget negotiations. These funds could be allocated to schools, health care, and other budgets hit hard during the pandemic.
Besides the lack of a budget, there are several policies that have not been brought to the Senate floor for a vote – police accountability measures, paid family and medical leave, housing and rental assistance, catalytic converter theft legislation, or any action to address climate change. Instead during this final week, Senate Republicans have only brought a limited number of bills to the floor, taking a snail’s pace to the finish line of the legislative session.
With just a few days remaining of the 2021 legislative session, Senate DFLers remain committed to fighting for a budget that reflects the values we all share, that supports those Minnesotans who have been hit hardest by the effects of this pandemic, and that ensures a fair and full recovery for all.