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Bonding Bill, State Worker Raises Among Final Hurdles As 2020 Session’s End Approaches

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota lawmakers are running out of time and dealing with financial strains to wrap up the 2020 session.

The DFL-controlled House is pushing a bonding bill worth $2 billion, while the Republican-controlled Senate’s version is just under $1 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Sunday a compromise has been made between the two majorities, with the grand total likely somewhere in the middle of the aforementioned figures.

But they’re still negotiating with both minorities, with House Republicans being the biggest hurdle during this process.

Another topic of concern is raises for state workers, which was approved prior to the pandemic. But because the projected deficit Minnesota is now facing due to COVID-19, the Senate late Saturday night voted to freeze workers’ salaries, meaning they wouldn’t get a raise until next summer.

“We feel like it’s a fair approach to making sure that our state workers are treated fairly, but also as we recognize a roughly $4 billion downturn of revenue coming into the state in less than two months, we know that we have to be very, very careful,” Gazelka said.

Last week, the House approved the raises for state workers for this year, so it appears both workers’ raises and the bonding bill will both come down to the wire Sunday night.

It is highly possible though that lawmakers are called back for a special session in June, due to the governor’s potential extension of his state of emergency declaration.

WCCO

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