The Latest: Legislature needs overtime to finish budget

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With budget unfinished, Legislature heads to special session

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the last day of the Minnesota Legislature’s regional session for 2017 (all times local):

11:45 p.m.

Minnesota legislative leaders say they’ll call a special session to finish the state budget after they miss Monday’s midnight deadline to finalize a new spending package.

The Legislature scrambled over the weekend to finish a new two-year spending plan but ran out of time. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republicans struggled to find agreements on major pieces of the budget.

The two sides announced late Monday they’d agreed on a tentative plan to call a special session immediately after Monday’s midnight deadline. They plan to finish passing the remaining pieces of the budget by Wednesday morning.

It calls for $660 million in tax relief, $50 million to expand preschool offerings and $300 million to fix roads and bridges. House Speaker Kurt Daudt says he’s optimistic the deal will come together in a spillover session.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says the Legislature might not be able to finish passing a new budget on time and may need a special session.

The Legislature was racing Monday to finish a new two-year spending package by midnight. But lawmakers still needed to finish the bulk of a $45 billion-plus budget Monday night.

Gazelka says GOP leaders are still trying to reach a deal with Gov. Mark Dayton on some key budget areas. He and House Speaker Kurt Daudt said they hadn’t started planning for an overtime session in case they can’t wrap up in time.

Lawmakers have a $1.65 billion budget surplus but were tangled with Gov. Mark Dayton over the scope of tax breaks, cuts to health care services and public school spending.

Minnesota lawmakers may have already passed the point where they can finish work on the budget by the required adjournment of midnight.

The logistics behind drafting hundreds of pages of the remaining bills and processing them for final votes are likely to take more hours that the Legislature has before the midnight deadline.

GOP House Speaker Kurt Daudt says a massive budget for health care services could take 10 hours or more to get ready once majority Republicans and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton strike a deal.

Some rank-and-file lawmakers are resigned that they won’t be heading home Tuesday morning with their work complete.

They include Rep. Paul Thissen, a former Democratic House speaker who says he doesn’t think there’s any way they’ll be done by midnight.

Fishing and hunting licenses, and state park, snowmobile and ATV fees would cost more under a bill the Houser and Senate passed late Sunday.

The Department of Natural Resources sought higher fees to prevent its Game and Fish Fund from going into the red. The fund finances outdoors programs that hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans enjoy.

Resident adult angling licenses would increase from $22 to $25, and from $35 to $40 for a married couple. Nonresident angling licenses would rise from $40 to $46.

Resident adult deer licenses would increase from $30 to $34. Nonresident deer licenses would rise from $160 to $180.

The daily state park permit fee would increase from $5 to $7. The annual permit would rise from $25 to $35.

Minnesota Democrats are raising a stink that a measure to protect residents’ internet privacy isn’t part of the next budget.

A move in Congress earlier this year to loosen regulations allowing internet providers to sell customers’ data sparked the issue in Minnesota. The House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to ban that data collection last month.

But the measures were absent Monday from budget bills as the Legislature raced toward a midnight deadline. Democrats tried and failed to add it back in to several funding packages.

Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis says it’s unconscionable that a measure that won almost unanimous support would be removed. Republicans who control the Legislature had previously said they were trying to strike a compromise on the language.

Minnesota lawmakers are down to their last day to wrap up several major budget bills to avoid needing extra time to finish the work of the legislative session.

The House and Senate reached deals late Sunday on water buffers to pass an environment bill, and agreed on funding for colleges and universities over objections from minority Democrats that the University of Minnesota wasn’t getting enough money.

But most of a two-year, more than $45 billion budget isn’t done. The deadline to adjourn is midnight Monday.

Majority Republicans were pushing for a smaller budget with more than $1 billion in tax breaks. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton favored something closer to $46 billion, with money for a prized preschool program.

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Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.