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'The Sausage Will Get Made': Legislative Leaders Expect Budget Deal To Get Done During Special Session

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) --  The Minnesota Legislature is expected to return next week for a special session to pass a two-year budget.

Without a budget deal, the state government would shut down and a shutdown this year would have a drastic impact on state services.

The legislative process is never pretty but leaders of both parties say that a budget will be passed in a special session expected to start Monday that the House speaker expects to last about a week.

"One of the things that the public should keep in mind is that democracy is messy. The sausage is still being made and it will be a messy process," speaker Melissa Hortman said. "The sausage will get made, yes."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka agrees.

"We have already wrapped up a number of things or are very, very close. I think things like higher ed, or the legacy bill, or commerce, or energy or some of those, they feel like they're pretty much there," said Gazelka.

The agreement is not surprising when you consider this year the consequence of a state shutdown would be far more drastic than in years past. Because of a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling, the 80% of government that remains funded in past shutdowns would get nothing.

"I think it would create a crisis unlike under Dayton or Pawlenty," Gazelka said.

Essential services would be directly affected.

"So think of the highway patrol, think about nursing homes, jails, getting permits," Gazelka said.

With the urgency to pass a budget, policy issues, and differences including the Republicans' push for voter ID and the DFL's push for sweeping police reform, may get left for next year's legislative session.

"This is the first time we've ever done legislating in a pandemic and like in many other workplaces we are just down to those core things that are most important," said Hortman.

Another issue expected to be debated but not resolved is the Republicans' push to end the governor's emergency powers.

Gov. Tim Walz said again Tuesday he will call for another 30-day extension. He says he still needs the powers to oversee vaccinations and prevent an eviction moratorium from being lifted.

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