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The Latest: Walz fires up teachers rally as deadline looms

May 18, 2019
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The Minnesota Senate discusses routine bills on Friday, May 17, 2019, in St. Paul Minn., as a Monday deadline looms with no agreement yet on a budget deal to finish the 2018 legislative session. Karnowski.(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)
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The Minnesota Senate discusses routine bills on Friday, May 17, 2019, in St. Paul Minn., as a Monday deadline looms with no agreement yet on a budget deal to finish the 2018 legislative session. Karnowski.(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the Minnesota Legislature’s budget fight (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz has given a fiery speech to the union Education Minnesota as hundreds of teachers rallied in the state Capitol rotunda.

The Democrat and former high school coach called on the teachers to pressure Senate Republicans to reach a budget deal. He suggested that some of Republicans’ views “fit better in Mississippi and Alabama than they do in Minnesota.”

A frustrated Walz salted a few mild expletives into his brief remarks, saying voters made clear last fall that they want the state to invest in schools, not tax breaks for millionaires.

The governor told them in a hoarse voice, “We’ve got three dozen people that need to hear our voices roar.”

Monday night’s adjournment deadline is looming with no deal in sight, making a special session almost inevitable.

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2:45 p.m.

The Minnesota Senate has approved a Republican plan for preventing a state government shutdown if the Legislature’s budget stalemate persists.

Senators voted 35-31 along party lines Saturday to send it to the House, challenging Democrats to either agree or take the blame if there is a shutdown when the current budget expires June 30.

The bill would keep government funded at current projected levels. It’s close to the Senate GOP’s original budget proposal, which included none of the tax increases sought by Gov. Tim Walz and House Democrats to spend more on education, health care, transportation and other programs.

Monday night’s adjournment deadline is looming with no budget deal in sight, making a special session increasingly likely, though efforts by Senate Republican and House Democratic leaders and the governor continue.

11:10 a.m.

The Minnesota Legislature has reconvened with no budget deal in sight. Monday night’s adjournment deadline is coming up fast and talk is growing of the need for a special session.

More closed-door talks are expected Saturday among Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and leaders of the Senate Republican and House Democratic majorities. The conference committees negotiating the final budget bills are still waiting for the marching orders they need to finish drafting their legislation, and it will become increasingly harder as time goes on to complete those bills and vote on them without a special session.

The Senate was poised to vote Saturday on a “lights on” bill to keep state government running at current funding levels if there’s no deal by the time the current budget runs out June 30.

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