GOP now floating proposal for special session

St. Paul, Minnesota - State Capitol

On Thursday, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) seemed skeptical about a special session to extend unemployment for laid-off Iron Range miners. But yesterday, the Mesabi Daily News ran a story indicating there is, in fact, a Republican proposal for a special session.

It hinges on a shorter extension for the benefits, and eliminates any discussion of addressing economic disparities in communities of color, a key demand of DFLers Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

Daudt says that issue, according to Hanna, would be better handled in the regular session.

From the Bill Hanna story:


Daudt has said his caucus believes there is no need for a special session because the Legislature convenes in about seven weeks on March 8.

However, in a telephone interview with the Mesabi Daily News Friday afternoon, Daudt said if the governor calls a special session he will bring a bill to the House floor to extend benefits for mining-related Iron Range workers.

He also said it would have his support and the backing of the House GOP caucus.

There currently are more than 600 Iron Range workers whose benefits have expired, and that number will exceed 1,000 before the regular session begins.

Republicans are backing a 13-week extension for miners, instead of the 26 weeks proposed by Gov. Dayton. Their logic is that 26-week extensions have traditionally been reserved for mines that closed permanently.

One thing seems certain, these details need to be resolved by the end of this week if there is to be a special session by Feb. 1, which was the original hope.

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