MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hopes are fading for a special session to address what Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says is a “human crisis” on the Iron Range.
A high-level meeting at the Governor’s Residence Thursday failed to resolve their differences.READ MORE: Eli Hart Killing: Mother Accused Of Murdering 6-Year-Old Son To Appear In Court Tuesday
Republican leaders are resisting, saying they are opposed to a special session.
“We believe, at least I believe, we can and probably should wait until regular session,” Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said.
But Democratic lawmakers who represent the Iron Range say the century-old steel industry is collapsing, and may never come back.
They want soon-to-expire unemployment benefits to continue, and keep families from packing up and moving out.
“And it just seems to me buying some time so they don’t have to make those decisions in a state of family crisis is the responsible thing to do,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) said.READ MORE: Chemical Spill Prompts Hotel Evacuation In Bloomington
Republican leaders oppose a special session, even though they say they are sympathetic, and support more benefits.
But Daudt says any state action can wait until the legislature returns in regular session March 8.
Dayton compares the Iron Range crisis to last year’s catastrophic avian flu outbreak, and state aid for floods and tornadoes.
And he says talks will continue — for now.
“When people are really pushed to the brink of total disaster, that’s to me is when they need government,” Dayton said. “And they need the government that they depend upon.”
Any special session would also include changing Minnesota’s driver’s licenses to high-security Real IDs so travelers can board planes.MORE NEWS: Mosquitoes Mostly Missing, But Twin Cities Thick With Ticks
An economic recovery package aimed at racial minorities would also be included.