MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Gov. Mark Dayton said he hopes to call a special session in early June.
It’s so lawmakers can re-pass a $17 billion dollar education bill.READ MORE: Hopkins Police Investigating Homicide At Apartment Building
The Democratic governor on Wednesday ramped up pressure on lawmakers to include funding for his No. 1 priority: a statewide pre-kindergarten program. He’ll meet as early as next Tuesday with the Republican House Speaker to hammer out the agenda for the special session.
He also said he’ll ask lawmakers to pass other bills when they return to St. Paul but warned against a long “wish list” of legislation.
In the turbulent last minutes of the 2015 session, it turns out a couple of important bills got left behind.
“If people want divided government, this is one of the consequences of that,” Dayton said. “Some people say that’s good, some people say otherwise. That’s what the voters of Minnesota decided we would have, and we’re doing the best we can.”READ MORE: Mass Casualty Simulation Helps Nat'l Guard, Children's Minnesota Practice Treating Kids
The governor said he’ll ask lawmakers to pass a construction projects bill that includes money to continue the massive state Capitol restoration.
He’s also asking for a bill that includes dozens of environmental projects, including the governor’s push for water quality and farmland buffers.
But the special session focus will be on the $17 billion education bill, and Dayton’s insistence that it includes funding for pre-kindergarten programs.
The House Speaker Kurt Daudt isn’t backing away from the budget that passed. He said it is the governor, not him, who needs to round up votes for a new bill.
“It didn’t pass the Senate or the House,” Daudt said. “It really is the governor’s job if this is his No. 1 one priority, to earn the support and earn the votes through the legislative process.”MORE NEWS: Amid Missionary Hostage Crisis, Minnesotan From Port-Au-Prince Wishes 'Haiti Would Get The Help They Need'
The governor also on Wednesday ignored Republicans demands that he apologize for comments he made on Tuesday that they “hate” public schools. In fact, Dayton doubled down and said Republicans are the ones who should apologize.