Coming back at 9
Posted at 8:28 PM on May 17, 2008 by Michael Marchio
The House and Senate have been in recess since around 4:00, but, if you can believe it, the budget negotiations looks like they're entering their last stages. Health care reform has been agreed on, and it sounds like the length of the 3.9 percent property tax cap is the main issue now. The Senate is looking for a one-year deal, the governor three years, according to reports, and the governor is also looking to get an income tax exemption for military pensions.
Some other big questions we'll hopefully get answered in the next hours:
-Will the Mall of America tax deal make be included in the tax bill?
-What, if we get one, will be included on the new bonding bill? Central Corridor? Lake Vermilion State Park? a new veteran's home? All three?
-Will we get a chance to weigh in on Constitutional amendments this November? There are two potential amendments. One allows legislative leadership to call a special session, and the other that would set up a council to determine lawmaker pay. If I hadto make a wager, I'd guess that lawmaker salaries would be more likely to get taken up, but both chambers are going to be pressed for time, and I don't know if these will be that high a priority with all the other issues.
-Will lawmakers attempt to override the governor's veto on the K-12 school financing bill? There are probably a lot of anxious lawmakers who want to brag about that one
-Whatever happened to the medical marijuana bill? Did somebody get the munchies and forget where they left it?
Lawmakers are on the clock, and bills can only be passed today and Sunday, though they can meet on Monday to discuss Twins scores or whatever, just nothing that can be counted. There's a rule that lawmakers can't meet past midnight, but if the chambers approve, it can be suspended, so that's a near certainty tonight. The same legislative day can be extended until 6:59 a.m. and at 7:00 the next day begins. Back in the day, lawmakers used to throw a blanket over the clock and keep session going, because, hey, who knows what time it is with the clock covered.
The Commish has also heard exclusive word about a potential gubernatorial ticket for 2010. Keep checking back through the night, managers. We're in the home stretch.