May 15, 2024 - News

It's crunch time at the Minnesota State Capitol

Mark Johnson and Lisa Demuth at a podium

GOP leaders Mark Johnson and Lisa Demuth outlined their offer at a Capitol press conference on Tuesday. Photo: Minnesota House Info

As is often the case, it's looking like votes on major bills will come down to the wire at the Minnesota State Legislature.

State of play: Behind-the-scenes negotiations on a bipartisan capital investment package and other high-profile legislation are ongoing, with just four voting days left before Sunday's deadline.

  • Lawmakers still have more than a dozen "conference" reports on spending and policy bills to wrap up.

The latest: On Tuesday, legislative Republican leaders released their latest offer for the capital investment bill, which needs GOP votes to pass.

  • They told reporters they're now willing to sign off on up to $890 million in total spending on state and local projects, including about $2 million for nonprofits. That's below the total price tag sought by majority Democrats.
  • The two sides are also close to an agreement on how much money to send to cash-strapped rural EMS units.

Friction point: Republicans want a number of additional concessions in exchange for their votes.

The other side: In a joint statement, House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Senate Majority Erin Murphy accused Republicans of seeking "total control of the legislative agenda and the return of partisan gridlock" in exchange for a "handful" of votes on bonding.

  • "Republicans have jeopardized the completion of important work by intentionally throwing up roadblocks and delays on the floor, in negotiations, and again today by attempting to score political points with the press and public," the DFL leaders said.

What we're watching: Given the looming deadlines, Republicans can also run out the clock by prolonging debates, as they did by spending seven hours Monday on final sign-off of a bill banning "junk fees."

  • House GOP Leader Lisa Demuth said they'll decide how to proceed based on how talks between leaders go.
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