ST. PAUL — Republicans in the Minnesota House followed through on their threat to block a bonding bill Saturday when the $2 billion measure was put to a vote.
The House vote was 75 to 58 in favor — but that was short of the three-fifths supermajority needed for passage.
Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt had previously said there wouldn’t be GOP support unless Democratic Gov. Tim Walz ended the peacetime emergency he declared to fight COVID-19. Daudt’s complaint now is the size of the bill.
“Bringing a bill to the floor that is between two and three times the biennial average and puts Minnesotans on the hook for debt service we cannot afford is a disservice to Minnesotans," he said.
Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman, in a statement ahead of the vote, said “updating our aging infrastructure will help our people, communities and businesses make it through the COVID-19 crisis and provide jobs with wages and benefits that can support a family. Minnesota needs these investments now more than ever.”
The session is in its closing days; the governor and legislative leaders could still reach a deal on a slimmed-down bill before time runs out Sunday night. But passage of a bonding bill might have to wait for a special session next month.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans unveiled their own $998 million bonding proposal. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka called it a “responsible, generous and targeted bill.”
Walz on Saturday signed 11 bills into law, including measures to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 and to make Minnesota the first state to prohibit the use of the toxic and long-lasting chemical trichloroethylene, or TCE.