Special sessions aren't special in Minnesota, at all

Special sessions, not so special
Out of the last 10 legislative sessions, only one two-year biennium in 1999 and 2000 had no special session called.
William Lager | MPR News

There's a less-known Minnesota tradition that gets most discussed in the spring of odd-numbered years: state legislators not finishing their work on time.

More than half of Minnesota's Legislatures since gaining statehood in 1858 have gone into special sessions. Most often, it's due to lawmakers missing their deadline to stop working.

However, some special sessions were required so lawmakers could provide emergency or disaster relief. For example, the 2013 special session was called for one day that September to arrange disaster relief funding for 18 counties hit by storms and floods.

Recently, there's no single political party to blame for the special sessions.

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Under Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, there were five special sessions — two for emergency relief, three to finish legislative work. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's Legislatures had four special sessions, three of which were to finish legislative work. Both men served two terms.

Now, DFL Gov. Tim Walz faces a special session in his first term as governor. Like many Minnesota Legislatures, different political parties control each chamber. DFLers controlled the House this year; Republicans held the Senate.

The 2019 special session could drag over Memorial Day weekend as lawmakers continue hashing out the state's next two-year budget

What do you think of Minnesota's special session history? Does it affect how you vote? Tell us on the form below.