Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leaders try again this morning to break their deadlock over a bonding bill for state construction projects so the governor can call a special session. Dayton and top GOP lawmakers have not meet since talks broke down late last month after Republicans brought fresh demands to the table. One of the biggest issues is the dollar amount of the bonding bill. House Democratic Minority Leader Paul Thissen says, “Where the legislature left off the last night of session is an important place for us to start.: But that number was right around a billion dollars and it’s unlikely Republicans would go much higher. Also complicating negotiations: How much of the bonding bill should go for roads and bridges. And Senate Democrats want funding for Southwest Light Rail in the Twin Cities. Republicans say no.
Thissen says the legislature should also use the opportunity to take steps to rebuild trust between police and communities of color. “We’re not gonna solve the issue in a special session,” he says, “but I think there are some meaningful steps that we can take, building on work the legislature has already done and agreed to.” Thissen points to training programs, grants to local police departments to purchase non-lethal weapons, plus other measures.