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Big problems, little time for Minnesota lawmakers cobbling budget

(The Center Square) – Time is running out for Minnesota lawmakers scrambling to finish a budget before a Sunday night deadline.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said in a Friday news conference that three of the biggest bills – public safety, E-12 education, and health and human services – are tied as the highest hurdles to clear with just over 60 hours left to strike a deal.

However, she said “there is enough time” to finish.

Hortman said she didn’t think the sports betting bill will succeed, despite the Senate Finance Committee advancing a bill out of committee.

Minnesota lawmakers still haven’t struck a deal on sports betting, the legacy bonding, or higher education.

Despite some bipartisan wins such as the omnibus liquor bill that aims to lift the state’s “growler cap” from 20,000 to 150,000 barrels and allow small brewers to sell up to 128 ounces of beer per customer per day, the DFL-dominated House and GOP-led Senate appear greatly divided.

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a Thursday news conference that hiring more police was a “top priority” and that legislative leaders would step in if parties can’t bridge the divide.

Miller said the consensus on the tax bill was close, which would provide “permanent ongoing tax relief” and eliminate Social Security taxes.

The Legislature will adjourn on Monday.

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