Saturday, May 21, 2011

House and Senate to meet; Negotiations continue

The House goes back into session today at 10 a.m. and the Senate goes in at 11. The Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans committee is taking up the omnibus retirement bill today at 1 p.m. or at the call of the chair in room 123 of the Capitol.

On the House floor last night, Republicans tried to pass a bonding bill focused on flood relief but were not able to get the 81 votes (super majority) needed to pass a bill. It failed by a vote of 76-57. The Democrats who voted against the bill said it was because it did not spend enough. Author of the bill, Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said Democrats decided to "roll the dice" and hope for more in a bonding bill if forced into a special session. Howes said he's willing to work on a bonding bill but said it can't be as large as Gov. Dayton's proposal of $1 billion.

A conference committee has been appointed to work through the differences in the senior citizen tuition reduction bill, HF 821. The Senate bill reduces the age from 66 to 64, while the House bill reduces the age to 62. The Senate bill also includes an exemption of senior citizen students in farm business management programs in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. House conferees include: Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls; Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake; and Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. Senate conferees include: Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville; Sen. Claire Robling, R-Jordan; and Sen. David Brown, R-Becker.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Dayton continue to negotiate today. Stay tuned.

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