Last day of session underway

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Minnesota lawmakers are back in action this morning, trying to complete their remaining work before a midnight deadline for adjourning the 2013 session.

The House was expected to resume debate on legislation to allow the unionization of state-subsidized child care providers and personal care assistants. Lawmakers have already logged many hours on the issue, but House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said a vote is expected this afternoon.

“We have an agreement with the Republicans on a time limitation on how long further debate is going to go, and then we’re going to take a vote,” Thissen said.

The House is also taking up a state government finance bill, the legacy bill and elections bill.

In the Senate, lawmakers will take up the tax bill passed by the House early this morning. The bill raises $2 billion in new revenue to erase a $627 million deficit and pay for new spending.

The Senate’s first action of the day was to unanimously reject the confirmation of state Tax Court Judge George Perez. Gov. Mark Dayton had requested the action. Perez is facing suspension and censure.

House and Senate negotiators were expected to meet later to discuss a minimum wage increase compromise. The House is still pushing for an hourly rate of $9.50 by 2015, while the Senate is at $7.75. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said he expects the conference committee to work throughout the day.

“I think passing a significant wage minimum wage increase for low-wage Minnesota workers is very doable in the last day of session,” Winkler said.

A smaller bonding bill to cover the State capitol renovation, which passed in the Senate, is also still in play.