Minnesota lawmakers started the year trying to tamp down expectations: the legislative session would have a limited agenda, making tweaks to laws enacted last year, passing a few new policies and shaping a package of construction projects across the state.

As time ran short on the 2024 session Saturday evening, major pieces of even that limited agenda were still up in the air.

A deal on a bonding bill had yet to materialize despite a Sunday night deadline to finish work. The House and Senate were also working late into the night debating an expansive equal rights ballot initiative and trying to find a compromise on sports betting and pay minimums for Uber and Lyft drivers.

"It has been a hard session, but we've kept our eyes focused on the people of Minnesota and what we need to accomplish for them," Senate Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, said Friday ahead of a marathon weekend of work. "You're going to see the fruit of that labor over the course of this weekend."

Lawmakers passed a massive two-year state budget last spring, along with a raft of policy changes that Democrats in control heralded as one of the most productive legislative sessions in state history. The law doesn't require legislators to pass anything this year, but they traditionally spend election-year sessions working to piece together road, bridge, wastewater and other infrastructure projects across the state in a bonding bill.

Bonding bills require votes from the minority to pass, but Republicans accused Democrats of choosing "extreme partisanship" over finding a deal.

"Democrats and Republicans want to see that investment in our state," Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said Saturday. "I'm pretty disappointed. This could be a very nice, clean session, but they've chosen extreme partisanship on it right now."

Republicans have said their votes in favor of a package of construction projects are conditioned on the House and the Senate not passing an expansive version of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ask voters in 2026 if they want to add protections in the Constitution for everything from sex, race and gender to abortion access.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said they will not sacrifice the amendment for "a few construction projects."

Groups representing cities across the state were dismayed at what looked like a session that could end without a deal on a bonding bill, leaving "local elected officials around the state wondering what the heck has the Legislature been doing for the past four months," read a statement from the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

DFL Gov. Tim Walz said Friday afternoon that he remains hopeful that lawmakers will pass a bonding bill and urged lawmakers to not let tensions get in the way of them finishing their work. Asked if he would call a special session if that didn't happen, Walz said, "I will not talk about special sessions while we're in session."

Work stalled for much of Saturday in the state Senate as negotiations occurred behind closed doors, including on a bill to set a minimum pay standard for Uber and Lyft drivers to try to prevent the companies from leaving parts of the state on July 1. House Democrats were also expected to finish debate Saturday on the Equal Rights Amendment. Democrats in the Senate haven't said whether they have the votes to pass it.

Meanwhile, legislators debated and passed policy changes on everything from cannabis, transportation and housing to public safety. Those bills must clear both chambers by deadline on Sunday to make it to the governor's desk.

There were moments of bipartisanship. Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, broke into tears on the House floor as he talked about physical abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his father. A provision he included in the public safety bill would increase penalties for those who discourage a mandatory reporter from alerting law enforcement to child abuse.

"To every person who has been abused, don't wait until you're 55 to start jumping into the deep end of the pool," said Nash. "I've lost hours of sleep suffering through this, it does get better."

Saturday started harmoniously in the Senate with a bipartisan proposal to spend $24 million in support for rural emergency medical services (EMS). Sen. Grant Hauschild, DFL-Hermantown, pointed out that EMS systems are making money statewide, but the revenue comes from the Twin Cities and the losses pile up elsewhere.

"There's not a snapping of the fingers and the problem goes away," said Hauschild, who added that mid- and long-term reforms will be needed.

Sen. Jordan Rasmusson, R-Fergus Falls, created the mathematical formula that will determine which districts receive the money.

"I really appreciate the strong bipartisan work," Rasmusson said during the debate. "We worked long and hard to ensure that the dollars were going where they were needed most."

Staff writers Josie Albertson-Grove and Ryan Faircloth contributed to this report.