Sviggum expects special session
ST. PAUL -- One way or another, lawmakers will be called back for a special session this summer, House Speaker Steve Sviggum predicted Monday.
"Governor Ventura's strategy, Governor Ventura's gamesmanship ... will be to call us back into special session and say we didn't do our work," said Sviggum.
Sviggum was referring to the likelihood that Senate Democrats and House Republicans will pass a bill to balance the budget only for the current two-year budget period. Ventura has called on them to balance the budget until 2005 as well.
House and Senate leaders say they're unlikely to do that. Their budget-balancing bills each solve only a portion of the deficit forecast for that period.
The Legislature has until May 20 to finish the current session. Leaders had once hoped to be done by Easter, but Sviggum said high-level negotiations toward a session-ending deal are stalled.
Ventura has the power to call lawmakers into a special session, but he doesn't have the power to keep them there. Sviggum said if a summer session is called: "We'll read the Constitution to him," meaning they'll note that the Legislature is only required to produce a balanced budget in the current budget period.
He said lawmakers will reply "we've solved our constitutional responsibility, governor, we'll go home again," he said.