Gov. Mark Dayton is meeting separately on Sunday with Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, following the governor's vow a day earlier to veto an education funding bill for neglecting his priorities.
Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will meet with DFLer Bakk at 2 p.m., then with the GOP's Daudt at 3 p.m. The two legislative leaders are trying to hold together support for their cross-party state budget deal amid pushback from Dayton and the House DFL over what they say is an insufficient spending increase for public schools, and particularly Dayton's top prior.
House and Senate votes on pieces of the budget are likely to commence Sunday. Budget bills were being assembled in late-night sessions by House-Senate conference committees, and it's unclear whether the billions in state spending and major policy provisions contained in the bills will have universal support from Dayton. The governor has the ability to sink every budget bill with his veto pen.
Lawmakers have until midnight on Monday to finish up; failure to do so would likely force a special legislative session.
The meetings between Dayton and the legislative leaders represent a change of scenery. After nearly a week of negotiating a couple miles away at Dayton's Summit Avenue residence, he will meet Bakk and Daudt in his temporary office at the Veterans Service Building, a short walk from the Capitol. The governor's temporary quarters were made necessary by the renovation of the Capitol building, an ongoing project that is also raising complicated logistical questions about the prospect of a special session.