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Leaders reach tentative agreement for special session

Many months after the idea was first broached, it now appears a special session will happen.

Four legislative caucus leaders met Friday with Gov. Mark Dayton and agreed in principle to hold a special session.

“We don’t have an agreement or a deal on it, but we have outlined the parameters,” Dayton told reporters after the meeting.

The leaders will meet again on Monday to hammer out full details.

According to Dayton, the special session’s primary task will be to tackle the health care crisis. Dayton has said he wants to offer rebates to Minnesotans on the individual health insurance market whose rates are set to rise as much as 67 percent in January.

Some Republicans have responded favorably to Dayton’s rebate idea, but not all. Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, the GOP’s Ways and Means Committee chair, said Friday that he would rather see assistance come from the existing Health Care Access Fund, a program funded by a 2 percent provider tax that provided care for low-income Minnesotans.

In addition the health care, a special session also likely would resurrect the vetoed tax bill from the 2016 regular session and a bonding bill that failed during the same session.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said that all of the caucus leaders in attendance agreed that all three topics should be tackled in the special session. Those leaders included Daudt; outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook; incoming Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa; and incoming House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park.

“I think we are close,” Daudt said. “I think we can see an agreement that would help out Minnesotans with the premium relief and also accomplish the tax bill and bonding bill that I think many Minnesotans thought were important.”

The special session would likely take place around Dec. 20.



About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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