The Minnesota Legislature’s recent special session ended with no major accomplishments, but the eight-day session will still cost taxpayers an estimated $108,000.
The special session concluded on June 20 after Republicans in the Senate and Democrats in the House failed to reach an agreement on police reform legislation, the allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds, and other leftover business from the regular session, such as a borrowing package for public infrastructure projects.
Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday that he would use his executive authority to distribute the coronavirus relief money by himself.
One of the only things the special session did accomplish was the extension of Walz’s emergency powers, since the Legislature needs to be in session when the governor extends a peacetime emergency.
According to a report from KSTP, the special session cost between $50,000 and $60,000 for lodging, mileage, and other per diem expenses for members of the House. In the Senate, the special session cost an estimated $48,000, bringing the total for the two chambers to as much as $108,000 in estimated expenses.
Since very little was accomplished, Walz could call lawmakers back to St. Paul for another special session in July, which he will need to do if he wants to extend his emergency powers for another 30 days.
Republican lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to end Walz’s peacetime emergency declaration on four occasions. The most recent attempt came during the special session and received some bipartisan support.
Thirteen Republican lawmakers have joined a lawsuit against Walz regarding his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit argues that the governor does not have the authority to “suspend the constitutional rights of Minnesotans.”
A Ramsey County District Court judge will determine if the lawsuit will proceed during a July 16 hearing.
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