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Minnesota Legislature to adjourn until next week due to inclement weather

Minnesota Legislature to adjourn until next week due to inclement weather
Minnesota Legislature to adjourn until next week due to inclement weather 01:40

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Legislature its cancelling its committee meetings and other Capitol business beginning Wednesday through the weekend, as the state prepares for a potentially historic snow storm.

The Minnesota House and Senate passed resolutions on Tuesday, allowing the chambers to recess until Monday. Leaders said they took the step to ensure safety as a two-punch storm system heads towards Minnesota, bringing the possibility of more than 20 inches of snow in the Twin Cities by Friday, according to WCCO's Next Weather meteorologists.

"The minute we do this, we might get three flakes, but I'm concerned about everyone's safety and I want everybody, including staff, to get home safe and not have to work to come here get caught in a bad snowstorm," said Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis ahead of the vote.

The state's constitution says lawmakers cannot adjourn for more than three days unless both chambers agree to it. The legislature takes this step when it pauses for a spring break, but it rarely does so for severe weather.

But while committee meetings at the Capitol are cancelled through the rest of the week starting Wednesday, lawmakers are keeping busy on Tuesday.

The Senate began debate earlier in the day on a policy to restore the voting rights for people with felony convictions as soon as they leave prison. Current law allows access to the ballot box upon completion of a sentence, including probation and parole. There's another proposal to grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The Senate recessed Tuesday afternoon and will resume debate later in the evening; discussion could last until the early morning hours of Wednesday. If approved, both bills will go to the governor's desk for signature.

Meanwhile, Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency ahead of the storm and told reporters the Minnesota National Guard will be ready to respond to the storm if needed. He took similar action in December when southwestern Minnesota was hit hard by a winter storm.

"The goal is to not have to pull somebody off the interstate, but we're prepared to do so if that happens," Walz said. "The goal is to make sure that we're ready if there's power lossage [sic], being able to keep the highways and move emergency vehicles as quickly as we can."

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