At GOP gathering, Speaker casts doubt on special session

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Speaker Kurt Daudt: “I think it’s probably not real likely were gonna end up having a special session.”

Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt said that he doubts there will be a special legislative session.

“I think it’s probably not real likely were gonna end up having a special session,” he told a meeting of the Republican Seniors of Minnesota in Bloomington earlier this week.  “We’re about two months from the beginning of our regular session and there’s a point at which it just becomes – it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to call everybody back in for a one day special session.” 

In an interview, Daudt expounded on his reluctance. “We’re still open to it, but it’s not likely to happen simply because there are so many issues on the table,” he said. “The more issues you get on the table the more difficult it is for everybody to agree.” 

Daudt and DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk have organized working groups to reach consensus on a host of issues: additional unemployment benefits for steel workers on the Iron Range; compliance with the federal regulation for enhanced security information on state driver’s licenses; and addressing income disparities between black and white Minnesotans. 

But Daudt said he’s not a fan of pre-agreeing on bills to be considered at a special session, a practice used to ensure that the sessions run smoothly and quickly.  “I really don’t like that because I’m kind of signing away my members’ constitutional right to debate and offer amendments,” he said.   

Gov. Mark Dayton has given legislative leaders a Friday deadline to decide if there is enough progress to warrant a special session. If not, Daudt said, “It doesn’t mean that we can’t take up these issues… really early in the regular session.”

House Republicans will focus on two priorities in the regular session, Daudt told the gathering of more than 100 GOP seniors: tax relief and transportation. 

He predicted Republicans would offer a transportation bill that he says would put “$6 or $7 billion into roads and bridges over ten years and do it without raising any taxes.” He noted that Dayton has said he does not expect a gas tax increase to be part of the transportation debate.

On tax relief, Daudt was specific. “One of the things that I really care about and that I want to accomplish is exempting social security income [from the state income tax],” he said.   “We are one of seven states in the country that taxes social security income. That’s going to be a huge priority of ours this session.”

To that, the Republican Seniors of Minnesota responded with a sustained burst of applause.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 01/06/2016 - 10:52 am.

    Sensible View

    In a recent note to Rep. Joe Atkins, I mentioned Gov. Dayton’s disposition to elevate certain issues to Special Sessions, sessions not really needed except for political promotion, it seems.

    If these people cannot get the people’s business properly done within regular calendar constraints, perhaps better organization is in order here.

    No partisan points here, just production management principles.
    Better organization of process just might create better product. Isn’t that what we all hope to see?

  2. Submitted by linda comstock on 01/06/2016 - 12:11 pm.

    special session

    As a former resident of northern minnesota, who still owns property there, and a democrat, I urge republicans to keep blocking efforts to help residents of that region and others who live out of the metropolitan area.. After promising to help them before the last election, they have done almost nothing to do so. This is very good for the democratic party in those areas of the state!!!

    • Submitted by Chad Quigley on 01/07/2016 - 10:04 pm.

      No Special Session

      Linda – you’re correct that there shouldn’t be a special session held to help residents of an area that the democrats have done nothing to help for the last 60 years. Why should republicans buckle to Gov. Dayton’s demands hold a special session just to be pilloried because it wasn’t enough or what ever the DFL will say to smear the republicans in the 2016 election? Northern MN just like Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, etc. has been control by the democrats for so long that they don’t know that their own elected officials are the ones doing them harm.

  3. Submitted by Tina Liebling on 01/06/2016 - 12:16 pm.

    Daudt concerned about his GOP members, not the rest of Minnesota

    Speaker Daudt’s concern about cutting off “my members’ constitutional right to debate and offer amendments” is revealing. He apparently does not recognize that the opposition has the same rights.

    This is the man who brought a bill to the floor last spring that almost no member had read. He allowed no debate before ramming it through, over cries of protest from the DFL. The Center for Public Integrity called out this behavior as they gave Minnesota a D- for integrity. He is also responsible for the decision to hold the upcoming (very short) session in a construction zone where the public will not have access.

    Special sessions are sometimes necessary, but should not be used for issues that could be handled during the regular session. And regular sessions must be long enough to allow the public to weigh in.

    It is time for Minnesota to stop making decisions behind closed doors.

  4. Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/06/2016 - 08:01 pm.

    It’s too harrrrrrd!

    According to the last couple month’s news there are three issues Mark Dayton would like to get straightened out before next March: extending unemployment benefits for Iron Range miners, allowing the state to conform with federal identification card requirements and beginning to fix racial economic disparities.

    While the third item might be a little complicated and tricky to work out in a couple of days (especially for Republicans because they don’t know what people are talking about when they say “racial economic disparities” but they’re pretty sure it’s just code for “transfer wealth”), extending UI benefits and getting the state into conformity with federal ID requirements is nowhere near the rocket science the leader of the Republi caucus is making it out to be. Either that or it’s just too confusing, hard or challenging for him to deal with.

    He has plenty of time to head from Crown (and his used car dealership?) to Bloomington to get together with Republican seniors to promise them more free money and freedom from having to worry about paying $1.90 per gallon to help pay for the upkeep of the infrastructure they’ve been using, benefiting from and wearing out all their lives, but he just hasn’t been able to find the time or the way to figure out this complicated “special session thing” the governor keeps talking about.

    And the taxpayers of Minnesota are paying him for this kind of stuff?

    Hello? . . . Hello? . . . Kurt? . . . Say. . . If you get a break in your 2016 Cruisin’ for Seniors Crusade, there are a few people (on the Range, at the airport, in northern Minneapoly and a few outstate reservations) that would really like to talk to you.

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