Budget work drags on

The start of an anticipated special session to end the state governor shutdown was uncertain tonight as budget committee chairs and commissioners continued meeting on several key spending bills.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he won’t call a special session until all of the bills are complete. He reached an agreement Thursday with GOP leaders on the framework of a deal. Meanwhile. Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch released a joint statement that shed little additional light on the status of the work:

“Work on the detailed budget bills continues to move in a positive direction, with an urgent focus on getting Minnesotans back to work. For the last three days, the Governor, Legislative leaders, committee chairs, commissioners and staff have worked around the clock on legislative language that reflects Thursday’s agreement. Considerable progress has been made. A special session will be called as soon as our work is completed, and all bills have been reviewed and agreed upon.”

Sen. Koch later confirmed that a handshake agreement had already been reached on a health and human services bill. She said some other bills had also reached that point, but she wouldn’t elaborate.

“I would hope that we could get these all wrapped up and that we’d have an announcement on a special session,” Koch said. “But we want to make certain of course that our members have some time to look at the bills and get briefed on that.”

Koch also repeated her expectation that there are sufficient Republican votes to pass all of the budget bills.

“These bills will pass,” she said.