MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton are in the middle of a legal battle over funding, but at least one top lawmaker says the 2017 legislative session was a success.
The state legislature went down to the wire this year to pass its $46 billion budget deal, even going past its deadline to get bills passed and finalize issues before adjourning. Lawmakers went back and forth debating tax breaks for first-time home buyers and college students, higher fees for campers, hunters and anglers and money to expand preschool options.
Lawmakers put more than $600 million a year into transportation repairs, but that didn’t include a gas tax increase. In one of the bigger battles of the session, the Southwest Light Rail Transit line can proceed, but the legislature banned state money from being used for it once it’s up and running.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt said on WCCO Sunday Morning the session was largely a success.
“I think if it weren’t for that one kind of dark cloud that the Governor has placed over the end of the session, people would call this one of the most productive sessions in recent history,” Daudt told Esme Murphy. “If you look at what was accomplished, people have to agree.”
Daudt pointed out the tax relief bill, the transportation bill and what he says will be one of the largest bonding bills in state history. Daudt also pointed out passing the Real ID bill and legalizing Sunday alcohol sales.
Lawmakers have filed a lawsuit against Dayton over legislative funding, one that Daudt feels will be settled quickly.
“The Legislature is a constitutional branch of government. The governor can’t simply eliminate us if he doesn’t want to talk to us,” Daudt said. “We are the peoples’ voice at the Capitol so we think the courts will act swiftly.”