The Latest: Pawlenty stops at Capitol as session gears up

February 20, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the start to Minnesota’s legislative session (all times local):

11 a.m.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is making a stop at the Capitol as he considers running for his old job.

Pawlenty stopped at the Capitol Tuesday morning in the hours before the 2018 legislative session began. The former Republican governor says he was going to address Senate Republicans about working with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton in his final year in office.

His visit to the Capitol comes as he inches toward deciding whether to run for governor again this fall. He met with a large circle of donors and advisers earlier this month to discuss a potential bid and recently announced he’d quit his high-paying job lobbying for the Financial Services Roundtable.

Pawlenty served five terms in the Minnesota House before winning two terms as governor.

9 a.m.

Minnesota’s latest legislative session is getting underway.

State lawmakers were due to return to the Capitol Tuesday with a long to-do list. Squaring Minnesota’s tax code with the recently passed federal tax cuts is one of the top priorities for 2018.

But none of that work is required. The Legislature accomplished its primary job last year when it passed a $46 billion, two-year budget.

One of the first orders of business is approving budgets for the House and Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed that funding last year.

And all eyes will be on GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach, who ascended to become lieutenant governor earlier this year. She’s fighting to maintain her seat and Republican’s one-seat majority in the Senate but Democrats are challenging that.

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