House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, is currently in India on a trip sponsored by the U.S. Embassy there.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton have taken an eight day pause in their negotiations over a potential special session to complete unfinished legislative business. In the interim, a committee of lawmakers will meet and hear public testimony on a public works bill for roads, bridges and other infrastructure that could approach $1 billion.
The efforts to reach agreement on a public works bill collapsed on the final night of the legislative session more than two weeks ago.
Peppin, who was a presence in final negotiations during the legislative session that ended May 23 and is seen as an important bridge to the conservative wing of the GOP caucus, is in constant communication with House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said Susan Closmore, House GOP spokeswoman, in an email.
If Dayton calls lawmakers into a special session, they are expected to take up a tax cut bill in addition to the public works plan. Dayton did not sign a $259 million tax cut bill that passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support, citing a drafting error the administration estimates would cost state coffers $101 million over the next three years. His refusal to sign the tax bill, which means it won't become law, angered Republicans who had worked on the package since early 2015 and said the drafting error could have been easily fixed.
Peppin is traveling with Washington state Democratic Rep. Jeff Morris as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures' India project, in which lawmakers of both parties speak with academics, students, think tanks, NGOs and community leaders, Closmore said. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, traveled to India in 2015 as part of the project, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy there.
Peppin was quoted this week in the English language Indian press talking about U.S. trade with India.
Dayton continues a tour of Minnesota this week to press for his priorities related to the special session, with events today in Moorhead and Worthington. He wants more money for higher education, a light rail line from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie and a handful of other projects.