We have a bonding bill!
The Minnesota House of Representatives has broken through the partisan logjam and voted to approve a state bonding bill late Wednesday night. The $1.9 billion bill was approved in short order by the Minnesota Senate on Thursday, and will almost certainly be signed by Gov. Tim Walz.
This bill has been a bone of contention in the House since the beginning of the 2020 legislative session. It was the main major piece of legislation for the session, and it got caught up in a variety of quagmires. Republicans thought it was too big, and offered one about have its size. When the House failed to pass the bill by the end of the session, it was expected to be the subject of the special sessions that Gov. Walz would call each month to renew his COVID-19 emergency powers, but House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the House Republicans would not vote for it unless Walz relinquished his emergency powers and let the Legislature make the COVID-19 rules. Without bipartisan support, the DFLers in the House were not going to muster the 60% supermajority needed to pass it.
That stalemate lasted through four special sessions. In this, the 5th session called by the governor, Daudt gave up that nonsensical condition, and a compromise was figured out.
It is a high-priced bonding bill, at nearly $2 billion, but it covers a lot of needed investment in infrastucture, transportation and utilities around the state. It will undoubtedly create thousands of jobs in the construction trades, and get a lot of workers off of unemployment.
It is sad that it has taken the House so long to pass this bill, but it is now passed, and we hope future essential legislation can be addressed in a more thoughtful and responsible manner.