Everything is in place for a one-day special session on Monday for lawmakers to approve disaster relief spending.
Despite weeks of talk of a special session, the final confirmation did not come until Friday afternoon when Gov. Mark Dayton officially summoned the Legislature back to St. Paul. During their brief time in the Capitol, lawmakers are expected to approve $4.7 million in disaster relief, $4.5 million of it to help communities damaged by the June storms.
As has become routine for governors, Dayton and lawmakers negotiated exactly what would be on the table for the special session before the governor officially called it. The reason is simple: While governors have sole power to summon lawmakers back into session, the Legislature has the power to end special sessions.
"If we don't have some sort of parameters around the session I think there would be a fair likelihood it would go off in a bad direction," former Gov. Tim Pawlenty said six years ago of his protracted negotiation with lawmakers over a special session.
Dayton formalized the negotiations.
An agreement signed by the DFL and GOP legislative leaders, as well as the governor, outlined four key points that they all could live with. The parameters included that the four legislative leaders would sign off on the exact language of the special session bill by Friday.
That sign-off complete, Dayton proclaimed the need for a special session.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger