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Still a chance for a special session?

In the wake of the shooting of police officers in Texas, a mass killing in France and the long-awaited start of the Republican National Convention, the thought of a special leglisative session in Minnesota has faded from our minds.
But apparently, there is a spark of hope that a bonding bill and a transportation bill may yet be passed this summer.
Four of the state’s political bigwigs — Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Senate DFL Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Republican Speaker Kurt Daudt — have reportedly been meeting privately to hammer out an agreement for a special session that may be held the third week of August.
We abhor these private meetings among legislators. We truly believe that if what is said in closed session had to stand up to the public scrutiny of voters, legislators would be far more prone to compromise and get work done.
Regardless, we would welcome a special session. Details of the outline for a special session are sketchy at best, but at least three bills are being contemplated for proposal on the floors of the respective legislative chambers. Two involve taxes and pensions. Dayton vetoed a tax bill because of what appeared to be a technical error. Hopefully, that will easily be rectified.
The other two bills are what hung up the legislative session and sent legislators home without  consensus on two items of major concern to Minnesotans: transportation and bonding.
Along with not receiving bonding for area transportation projects such as Highway 212, Highway 12 and the Glencoe Morningside project, we have seen trickle-down effects of the lack of passage of those two bills.
Street and utility projects in both Stewart and Brownton have either been delayed or in peril because of the state’s inability to pass these bills.
Unfortunately, according to latest reports, funding for the Southwest Light Rail project in the metro area could still be a huge stumbling block in a special session.
Quite frankly, we feel that if that project were to move forward, it ought to be funded by metro-area sources. It is highly unlikely that the light rail will benefit those of in the rest of the state.
On the other hand, we hope that a disagreement over light rail doesn’t hold up funding on other important projects, especially those that are vital to Greater Minnesota, such as the expansion  of Highway 212 to four lanes in the Carver County area.
We suspect that funding for the light rail project will continue to be a hinge-pin factor on whether a bonding bill passes or does not pass in 2016.
Let’s hope legislators hammer out a compromise that will allow the state to move forward on some much-needed infrastructure improvements.