Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, ended about two hours of talks today with a joint news conference, saying negotiations on a final agreement before a planned special legislative session are progressing. They said they agreed on a few issues, declining to specify which ones, while remaining far apart on others.
The two sides need to agree on bills related to education, jobs and the environment. The three bills, which Dayton vetoed last week, amount to nearly half the state's more than $40 billion two-year budget and also include contentious policy issues.
Dayton and Daudt were joined at the meeting and news conference by House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has been in communication with both Dayton and Daudt and said the DFL Senate is ready to back whatever Dayton agrees to with Daudt with a few exceptions.
A key sticking point remains prekindergarten, both sides acknowledged.
When Daudt was informed by a member of the press that his schedule included a visit to New Horizon Academy, an early education program in St. Paul, he spontaneously invited the DFL governor.
Dayton replied that he would have to check his schedule.
Talks will resume Thursday.