The Minnesota Legislature held its fourth special session of the summer Friday. That’s got to be some sort of record, right?
Well, yes. But more like, sort of.
It is the most in a single calendar year, according to data compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library.
But the Legislature runs a little differently. Its calendar is based on bienniums, with a legislative session spread over two years.
And the 1981-82 biennium, when the state had to quickly react to a recession, holds the record for the most special sessions: six.
Lawmakers could be on track to beat that number this year, with no end to the pandemic-driven, monthly special sessions in sight.
As Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, described it Friday — in what has long been a common saying at the Capitol — “They’re not that special anymore.”
Gov. Tim Walz has been calling the sessions every 30 days to give legislators an opportunity to reject his continued extensions of the state of peacetime emergency. That emergency status grants Walz certain powers that he has been using to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walz recently said in an interview on Minnesota Public Radio that he does not plan to end the emergency until Mayo Clinic experts say the public health threat of the coronavirus is over.