Minnesota lawmakers may consider completing the entire 2015-16 Legislative session this year alone, opting to stay home next year as renovation is expected to shut down much of the Capitol.
So far, the idea has simply been floated among House and Senate leadership, Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie said Tuesday, shortly after the House and Senate opened the session.
Hann said it was routine for the Legislature to meet only once every two years before the 1970s, when lawmakers alternated between a short session during bonding years, and long sessions during budget years.
“I think what’s happened in the last several years is those distinctions have blurred quite a lot. We seem to be ending up doing bonding bills on budget years and tend to do more than just bonding on the non-budget years,” Hann said. “I think it’s possible to get done the things we need to get done without having a second year, and under the circumstances with the renovation, it might make sense to do that.”
Despite 2015 being a budget year, Hann said that wrapping up a bonding bill in the same year is doable, with a possible option of a special session if more time is needed. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in May.
“To me it would be possible to do everything within that constraint, but if it turns out you can’t, I would think you could ask the governor to cooperate with the Legislature and call us back to finish up whatever is left undone.” Hann said.
Hann said the idea is contingent upon support from the Minnesota House, but has not yet brought it up to Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. Daudt said he had a brief conversation with Bakk about the idea, but was noncommittal.
“I think it’s one of those things that there needs to be some conversation about more broadly than just between me and Sen. Bakk,” Hann said. “I don’t mean to speak for him, I just know that we talked about it and he seemed to be open to the discussion.”
Bakk said a one-year session, given the workload, wouldn’t come easy.
“It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but getting a bonding bill together in a budget year is a pretty big challenge,” he said. “It’s possible, but very difficult,” he said.