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MN Senate GOP leader says deal close on bonding, tax bills

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Legislative leaders have agreed on most details of a public construction package and a tax bill, the Minnesota Senate’s top Republican said Monday, while discussions are continuing on whether a compromise is possible on police accountability in response to the death of George Floyd.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said at a news conference that his chamber would open the special session Monday with a vote to rescind the special powers that Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has used to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic-controlled House is expected to block that effort, as it did during last month’s special session.

Gazelka said the Senate would then adjourn for about a week to give the House time to pass the public construction legislation, commonly known as a bonding bill, as well as a bill to conform the state’s tax code with a federal tax break for new equipment purchases. The tax bill that would benefit farmers and small businesses in the Twin Cities that are rebuilding from the unrest that followed Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.

The bonding and tax bills must pass the House first.

Gazelka also said lawmakers should focus on less-controversial policing proposals that can pass both chambers of the divided Legislature.