The 2016 Legislative session was a mad dash to the very end. Both the House and Senate were legally required to pass all bills by midnight on Sunday. Going into the final day, the Tax bill, the Supplemental Budget bill, the Transportation bill and the Bonding bill remained on the Legislature’s to-do list. Down to the wire, legislative pages were dashing between the House and Senate, carrying bills that had passed one body but needed the approval of the other. As the clock struck midnight, both bodies were frantically trying to get the bonding bill passed and both ultimately failed. The Tax bill and the Supplemental Budget bill will be sent to the Governor’s desk, but the other work is left undone, as of yet.
That said, one vital piece of legislation did pass. Late Saturday night, the House approved State workers’ contracts. The House had already passed a different contracts bill that included provisions prohibiting the expenditure of union dues on political donations and requiring open meetings for labor negotiations. The Senate version, which passed weeks ago, did not include those provisions, meaning the two bodies would have needed to convene a conference committee to negotiate, amidst all the other controversies. The decision to pass a clean bill allowed workers’ contracts to sail their way to the Governor’s desk.
For now, the future remains unclear. The Governor can—but is not required to—convene a special session to potentially pass the Bonding bill and a comprehensive transportation package. Conventional wisdom suggests that would only occur if both bodies agreed to provisions, beforehand. Over the next few days, Governor Dayton will determine what he thinks is the most productive course to take. Barring that, this summer and autumn, all 201 members of the Legislature will hit the campaign trail to leave it to the voters of Minnesota to decide who will carry the work forward, next session.