Senate leaders ready for work

State lawmakers have just over three weeks left in the legislative session to solve a $5 billion budget deficit.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders remain at odds over spending and tax proposals. Dayton has said he won’t start negotiating until House and Senate conference committees resolve the differences between the budget bills passed last month.

During today’s brief Senate floor session, Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, told members she was prepared for some long hours.

“This morning, as I said goodbye to my daughter, I kissed her goodbye, I said I’m not sure when I will see you next, and I meant it,” Koch said. “So assume that for the next three weeks we will be working very, very hard.”

In response to an inquiry from Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, Koch listed six conference committees that are scheduled to meet in the next few days.

Bakk said he hadn’t seen any progress from those conference committees, but he offered some encouragement.

“It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of cooperation by not only members of the Senate but by members of the House,” Bakk said. “So, I encourage the conference committees to start making motions, adopting provisions, working out their differences with the House I hope that’s happening in a public way.”

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