Minnesota Legislative Leaders Say They Have a Budget Deal
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The two top leaders of the Minnesota Legislature said they reached agreement with Democratic Gov. Tim Walz early Monday on broad targets for the state's next two-year budget but that lawmakers will have to reconvene for a special session in mid-June to finish the work.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman told Minnesota Public Radio that they expected to nail down final details and announce them later Monday. They also said they expect police accountability measures will be part of the final package, but didn't give details.
Hortman said they're “very, very close” and hope to “dot some i's and cross some t's” before unveiling the details. Deciding how to spend $2.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money was one of the main complications, she said.
“We think that we're on the precipice of an agreement but we want to make sure that we're all on the same page, (that) we understood each other. ... It's one thing to think you've agreed; it's another to be able to write bills that appropriate 50-plus billion dollars,” Hortman said.
The speaker said it will be up to the conference committee negotiating the public safety budget bill to find common ground and decide which police accountability proposals passed by the House make it into the final version.
Gazelka wouldn't say which ones might make the final cut, but ruled out civilian oversight boards or weakening the qualified immunity that shields law enforcement officers from liability when they use force.