House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) had some harsh words for his Democratic colleagues in the Minnesota House after the 2019 legislative session came to an official close Monday at midnight.
Party leaders and Gov. Tim Walz agreed on a $48.3 billion biennial budget on Sunday, giving lawmakers hardly a day to wrap things up. By Monday’s midnight deadline, the Minnesota House and Senate had sent just one major budget bill to Walz’s desk—a higher education finance bill.
A special session is inevitable, but nobody seems to know exactly when it will start or how long it will take. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) has been telling reporters that he hopes to have a special session on Thursday and possibly Friday, before Memorial Day weekend.
— Mary Lahammer (@mlahammer) May 21, 2019
One thing is for sure: Daudt was not pleased with how the 2019 session transpired.
“This has been the least productive, least transparent session in the history of this state. Minnesotans should be ashamed of the process at the end of this legislative session. They passed one budget bill to the governor’s desk. One budget bill. The last time they passed only one budget bill or less was in 1985,” Daudt told reporters Monday night.
He disagreed with Gazelka’s call for a Thursday special session, saying he doesn’t think that “makes sense.”
“This has been a horribly non-transparent process,” Daudt continued. He claimed there was “no time” to read an omnibus agriculture budget bill that passed out of the Senate Monday night, but failed to pass the House after members ran out of time, as KSTP’s Tom Hauser reported.
BREAKING: The Minnesota House adjourns after passing just one budget bill. They ran out of time to pass agriculture bill Senate sent over after it passed it. House adjourned at exactly midnight. pic.twitter.com/woAXkcNqdE
— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) May 21, 2019
“I’m not going to stand for this dark-of-night, making decisions behind closed doors with no one knowing what’s in the bill. The authors of the bills didn’t know what was in the bills. We didn’t have spreadsheets. The spreadsheets that we did get didn’t match the bills. This is an absolute shame on the Democrats who are running the chamber in the Minnesota House of Representatives,” Daudt continued.
“They were the ones who said they were going to do it different and going to do it better, and they did it worse than anyone I’ve ever seen in the history of the state,” he added. A clearly frustrated Daudt went on to say that he doesn’t know how “they can face the voters after this.”
“If people want to know why this session was a failure, why we ended with the least productive session since 1985, it’s because Democrats demanded $12 billion of tax increases and wouldn’t give until the very last minute,” he concluded. “It’s absolutely shameful and unacceptable. Minnesotans should demand better of their elected officials.”
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