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And we're off!

Posted at 2:42 PM on May 18, 2008 by Michael Marchio

That light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train, but this budget's going to have money for one on University Avenue. A breakthrough has been reached, and we'll have more details soon. What we know is that it will include money for the Central Corridor line, a new nursing facility at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, a new state park on Lake Vermilion, a 3.9 percent cap on property taxes, a Mall of America tax deal and a health care reform bill that was approved in the wee morning hours today. Both the Mall deal and the health care reform were whittled down to make them acceptable to all parties.

The House has begun taking up some conference committee reports, and so far we've seen:
HF2748, a bill to establish a rural health co-operative, SF3363, Sen. Cohen and Rep. Solberg's bill to provide more information to the Legislature on budget forecasts, and HF3376, Rep. Neva Walker's Minnesota Family Investment Program that includes a child care advisory task force.

So the real question at this point is how talkative your lawmakers will be on the floor today. Now that the fabled "universal deal" has been reached, will the leadership use some gentle force to quiet the more verbose members? We know that the tax bill and budget balancer are going to get votes, but those constitutional amendments and others are still waiting for final approval. How many of them will make the midnight deadline? Watch the House or Senate online.