Walz: Special session II starts on Monday

He's optimistic after meeting with key legislators

WCCO Radio Newsroom
July 07, 2020 - 9:49 am
Minnesota House display over speaker's desk

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They're coming back to work.

Gov. Walz on Tuesday said lawmakers will return to St. Paul on Monday for a special session, adding that he’s optimistic they can get their work done.

This will be the second special session since the regular session adjourned in May.

Lawmakers met for a week last month and failed to find common ground on issues such as police reform and a bonding bill to fund statewide construction projects.

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The bonding bill had been the top post-session priority, but lawmakers were quick to add police reform to the agenda following the May 25 death of George Floyd that led to protests and rioting in the Twin Cities.

Walz met at length on Monday night with Senate Republican leader Paul Gazelka, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and House Republican leader Kurt Daudt.

Hortman sent out an email message to her staff that indicated the governor would officially call the special session on Friday, with the call to order coming down on Monday.

“I thought that conversation went with what Minnesotans would expect,” Walz said. “It was bi-partisan, there were positions that were being staked out, but it was in the best intentions of Minnesotans.”

Walz said extensive work has been going on to find common ground on all issues.

“I think, for Minnesotans, as they see a hyper-partisan environment, I can tell you this that the legislative session is working, that there is a commitment to try and get it done,” he said.

Monday is also the day the latest extension of the governor’s peacetime emergency comes to an end. Walz made the declaration in March, closing schools and businesses while setting social distancing guidelines because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“There was no clear guidance on extension of emergency powers in a long-term pandemic,” Walz said. “We made the very conservative estimation that the legislature be called back every thirty days to either approve or disapprove that. One way or another, they’ll have to come back and vote.”

And, finish up what they couldn’t accomplish earlier in the year.

“We think it makes sense to clear up all that work that needs to be done,” he said.

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