Budget Work Continues in Special Session

The Legislature has been meeting in special session for two weeks. Twelve budget bills must be passed and signed into law by the end of the month in order to avoid a full or partial government shutdown. Of these, only five bills have been passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate as of early this morning. None have yet been sent to Governor Tim Walz or signed into law.

Tax and Capital Investment Bills Also in Queue

Along with the dozen budget bills, the Legislature is also expected to pass bills related to tax expenditures and capital investments. Traditionally, these bills are the last to be passed in a given year. An agreement on the tax bill was previously announced, though some changes are still expected. It is yet to be determined whether the capital investment bill will simply include adjustments to previously-approved projects or be a more robust bill authorizing new projects.

Continue Working Through Weekend

In order to get the budget passed before the end the of month, the Legislature will be meeting in session this weekend. In fact, the House has three bills scheduled for the calendar on Saturday, in spite of the fact that language wasn’t public for most of these until the end of the business day on Thursday. The three bills scheduled for Saturday relate to education, health and human services and a small capital investment bill (new projects may be added).

Late Changes Still to Come

While agreements have been announced on all budget areas except for public safety, it should be noted that the agreements are not final. Changes have been announced to many of the bills following the announced agreement. It is expected that additional bills will be passed just before the special session ends that will encompass these later changes.

Shutdown Not Expected

When it was first determined that a special session would be needed to pass the state’s biennial budget, many hoped that the special session would last just a single day. That has proven to be wishful thinking, but legislative leaders continue to insist that the Legislature will finish its work by the end of the month, and avoid a state shutdown.

June 25, 2021