Lawmakers work to pass bills before end of session
(ABC 6 News) – Lawmakers had quite a busy session this year, kicking off with a record-breaking budget surplus of more than 17 billion dollars.
With the DFL’s single party control, much of their early priorities became a reality.
“That’s what Minnesotans have asked for and that’s the work we were sent here to do and so I’m so proud and glad of the work that we have done this session,” explained Sen. Liz Boldon (D) Rochester.
But not everyone was happy about it
“When you listen to both sides you’ve got perspective so you’re not gonna miss as much stuff, when only one side is being listened to you’re gonna miss stuff. And there’s a lot of stuff they missed,” said Rep. Duane Quam (R) Byron.
Over the weekend, highly-debated legislation passed through the legislature including the historic legalization of recreational cannabis as well as the biggest transportation package since 2008.
“Which really is transformative making investments into a system that has been underfunded for a long time,” Boldon said.
It includes 650 million dollars that will be used to leverage almost 8 billion in federal dollars for state projects, but also included is around 1 billion dollars in new taxes, which was met with sharp objection from Republicans.
Some Republicans think lawmakers wasted budget dollars and shouldn’t be asking for more.
“They’re increasing the budget by 40% and I’m not seeing a lot of long range improvement coming from it its more like you got money for your birthday and you went out a blew it,” Quam said.
“In the last few days here we’ve come to agreement with all parties around what those bills look like in order to have an orderly session,” Boldon said.
The clock is ticking before that midnight deadline with a number of items still on the agenda including the hotly debated ”Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act’ legislation as well as a bonding bill.