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Minnesota lawmakers reel in fish - but no budget deal - at 2019 fishing opener

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Gov. Tim Walz (right) and legislative leaders fish
Gov. Tim Walz (right) and legislative leaders fish on Saturday on Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, Minn., during the annual Governor's Fishing Opener.
Colleen Harrison | Albert Lea Tribune

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders kicked off the 2019 fishing opener together in Albert Lea on Saturday, but they're not any closer to striking a deal on the state budget. 

Despite a five-day pause in budget negotiations, the governor and legislative leaders didn't discuss the state's two-year, nearly $50 billion budget during a morning of fishing on Fountain Lake. Walz, a DFLer, and Democrats in control of the House want to spend more on education and healthcare than the Republican-led Senate is proposing. 

Gov. Tim Walz poses for a picture
Gov. Tim Walz poses for a picture on Saturday before the Governor's Fishing Opener launch ceremony at Edgewater Park in Albert Lea.
Colleen Harrison | Albert Lea Tribune

They have until May 20 to strike a deal during the regular legislative session. After that point, the governor can call legislators back into a special session to finalize any remaining work. They must have a deal by June 30, the final day of the fiscal year, or state government will shut down. 

But while budget talks went nowhere, the fishing wasn't bad. 

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan caught the most fish — three total. Walz caught one fish. 

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan fishes on Saturday on Fountain Lake in Albert Lea.
Colleen Harrison | Albert Lea Tribune

"Lt. Gov. Flanagan may have caught more fish than me, but I plan to best her at the Pheasant Opener in Austin this fall," Walz said in a statement. 

The governor and legislative leaders plan to meet Sunday night to resume budget talks.