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The Latest: Health and human services budget bill unveiled

May 24, 2019
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CORRECTS IDENTIFICATIONS TO KURT DAUDT AND ANNE NEU, NOT RYAN WINKLER AND MELISSA HORTMAN - Republican Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, left, joined by Republican Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu, right, speaks to reporters above the House chamber in the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday, May 24, 2019, on the opening day of a special session to finish work on the state’s $48 billion two-year budget. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)
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CORRECTS IDENTIFICATIONS TO KURT DAUDT AND ANNE NEU, NOT RYAN WINKLER AND MELISSA HORTMAN - Republican Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, left, joined by Republican Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu, right, speaks to reporters above the House chamber in the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday, May 24, 2019, on the opening day of a special session to finish work on the state’s $48 billion two-year budget. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

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

5:50 p.m.

Minnesota legislators meeting in special session have gotten their first look at a 649-page health and human services funding package the state’s next two-year budget.

The Senate plans to approve the 649-page bill Friday night. It wasn’t immediately clear when the House might consider the legislation. The House GOP minority has objected to the limited time for reviewing the bill, which is one of the largest components of the state’s budget.

Lawmakers got their first briefings on the contents Friday evening.

Highlights include a crackdown on fraud in the state’s troubled Child Care Assistance Program and a $100 monthly raise in basic welfare payments. It preserves a statewide smoking cessation program. And it adds vaping to the state’s ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces.

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4:15 p.m.

The Legislature has passed its first two bills of the special session and sent them to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature.

One bill funds agriculture, rural development and housing programs. The other funds clean water, habitat and arts programs. Both passed by wide margins Friday afternoon.

GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told reporters Friday morning that his caucus had no plans to supply enough votes to suspend the normal procedural rules so that the session could be limited to just one day as Democratic leaders had hoped.

But House Republicans voiced no objections to suspending the rules to pass the first two bills, which are relatively small and noncontroversial.

Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu said her members had had enough time to study the bills before voting.

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10:20 a.m.

The special session of the Minnesota Legislature appears likely to last at least three days and run into the holiday weekend.

Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt told reporters just before the session was called to order Friday his caucus has no plans to supply enough votes to suspend the normal procedural rules so that it could be kept to one day.

Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman told reporters that if Republicans didn’t agree to suspend the rules, the session would run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Daudt says lawmakers need time to consider the big budget bills that must pass during the special session. He objected to how they were crafted behind closed doors, and that the massive health and human services budget bill still had not been published.

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8:30 a.m.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has called lawmakers back for a special session to complete a $48 billion state budget for the next two years.

The Democratic governor told them to convene at 10 a.m. Friday in hopes of adjourning before 7 a.m. Saturday. But suspending the normal procedural rules to let that happen requires some votes from the House Republican and Senate Democratic minorities. It’s not clear yet if that will be forthcoming.

The last piece of the two-year budget fell into place Thursday when Walz and leaders of the Senate Republican and House Democratic majorities agreed on a health and human services bill. Some Democrats are upset that several of their initiatives were cut from the final version, including a proposal to make emergency insulin supplies more affordable.

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