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Letter: Special session a train wreck

The special session was a train wreck.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and recent civil unrest, Minnesotans need strong state leadership at the Legislature now more than ever. Instead we got arbitrary deadlines, broken deals and partisan battles.

I’m frustrated at the Senate GOP majority for their insistence on adjourning prematurely. The decision to adjourn (on Saturday) was completely arbitrary, and clearly there is plenty of work left to do. They have chosen to go home rather than continue to seek resolutions on important issues like the CARES Act distribution, bonding bill and police reforms.

I am also disappointed at the breakdown of the agreement to provide $841 million in federal CARES Act money to local governments. The Senate passed a clean bill that would have distributed money fairly and quickly, but the House DFL essentially killed the bill when they chose to tack on unrelated measures. It has been 86 days since Congress passed the CARES Act, and local governments in Greater Minnesota still haven’t received a penny.

And for months, long before the pandemic, city leaders have been calling on the Legislature to pass a bonding bill that will create thousands of jobs and invest in infrastructure needs across the state. Legislative leaders kept saying they were close to a deal, yet nothing tangible materialized. As a result, our communities must continue to delay critical projects that are needed to ensure clean water, safe roads and bridges, and repair other ailing infrastructure.

There is plenty of blame to go around for this disastrous special session. The people of Minnesota deserve better.

Audrey Nelsen

President, Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities