Too much time spent on social issues, DFL claims

Democrats complain that Republicans in charge of the Legislature are taking too much time debating social issues instead of balancing the next two-year budget, which faces a $5 billion deficit.

As of Monday afternoon, Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, said, there were six non-budget constitutional amendments up for debate this week while only four budget negotiations sessions were set.

“We have 20 days to finish the budget,” Hilstrom said.

But Chairman Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, said that a Friday deadline for policy issues means non-budget bills must be debated this week.

Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, said the final three weeks of the regular legislative session will be busy with both policy and budget issues.

“Assume that the next three weeks we will be working very, very hard,” Koch said.

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