Top legislative leaders said Thursday they will confer with their caucus members to determine the agenda of a possible special session, following a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton.
In recent weeks, the governor has called for a special legislative session that Dayton hopes will extend unemployment benefits to idled Iron Range miners. Several taconite mines have been temporarily shuttered amid turmoil on the global steel market, resulting in hundreds of layoffs.
Some workers are now beginning to exhaust their unemployment benefits, and more are expected to but cut off from jobless checks ahead of the regularly scheduled legislative session in March.
The downturn "is threatening the security of thousands of families," Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, told reporters following the meeting at the governor's residence.
Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, joined Bakk in the short news conference.
It's unclear whether Bakk and Daudt will be able to gain the support of their caucus for a special session. Some conservative Republicans in recent weeks have expressed strong reluctance to hold a special session, possibly making it difficult to reach an agreement on a deal.
"That process will probably take some time," Daudt said. "It may not be successful." Asked if he would have a challenge in earning the support of his caucus, Daudt said "potentially."
In addition to addressing the plight of Iron Rangers, Bakk and Daudt have added at least one additional item to the possible agenda: bringing Minnesota into compliance with the federal Real ID law.
Bakk last month said legislators should also consider approving legislation to address economic disparities affecting black residents, after new census data showed a rise in poverty.