May 12, 2023 - Politics

Crunch time at the Capitol: Minnesota House eyes early adjournment

A circular ceiling with windows and blue colors

The Capitol's electrolier was lit for Statehood Day on Thursday. Photo: Torey Van Oot/Axios

Minnesota lawmakers are sprinting toward a (potentially early) finish to this year's action-packed legislative session.

Driving the news: House Speaker Melissa Hortman confirmed to reporters that the House is aiming to wrap its work by next Thursday, May 18 — several days before the May 22 adjournment deadline.

Yes, but: Meeting that timeline would require swift action to finalize the slate of sweeping spending and policy bills that make up the state budget.

The big picture: A week doesn't seem like a lot of time. But as Hortman told reporters Thursday, "at the end of session, one day is an eternity."

  • "A lot can happen in a very short period of time," she said, noting that deals on bills that have been vetted by committees can "come together quite quickly when there's a deadline."

The other side: Republicans have criticized Democrats for using their full control to pass what they've cast as extreme liberal measures.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson told Axios he's concerned about Democrats adding significant policy changes into budget bills without time for input from GOP lawmakers or the public.
  • He called Hortman's proposed timeline "aggressive" and questioned whether it's realistic.

Reality check: Even if deals can be reached in the days ahead, the revisor's office needs time to finish writing the legislation.

  • And the Senate has yet to publicly commit to the House's goal to end early. Frentz said Thursday that the Senate has "not had any hard deadline" set.

What's new: The penultimate full week of work delivered an apparent breakthrough on a pair of gun control measures long sought by Democrats, as expanded background checks and red flag provisions were folded into a public safety spending bill.

  • Assistant Majority Leader Nick Frentz told Axios he believes the DFL caucus has the votes to pass the measure.

What we're watching: A number of contentious issues remain unresolved within the DFL, including:

Of note: A "legislative day" ends at 7am the day after it begins. So a May 18 end date could involve working through sunrise on Friday, May 19.

What's next: Conference committees working to finalize agreements to marijuana and paid family leave meet today.

  • Hortman said she expects the House to be on the floor through the weekend.

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