Visions of April 30 adjournment dance in their heads

Minnesota legislators plan a short session next year, with a couple of extended breaks.

House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, today released the legislative calendar Republicans who control the Legislature have drafted. It features a nearly week-long break in early February for precinct caucuses, after convening for the year on Jan. 24. Another week will be taken off for Easter and Passover in April before lawmakers go home for the year on April 30.

That would be the earliest adjournment since 1998.

The constitutional requirement to adjourn is May 21, and there is nothing to prevent the Legislature from meeting after April 30, despite the calendar.

There is plenty of speculation that lawmakers will be eager to leave St. Paul as soon as possible next year because a court panel is scheduled to release new legislative and congressional district maps on Feb. 21 and legislators will want to be free to get to know their new districts. Also, they cannot raise campaign funds while the Legislature is in session.

While 2010 state political conventions were in April and the Legislature recessed for them, the 2012 conventions are planned for May. Republicans meet the first weekend and Democrats two weeks later.

Here are key dates for the session:

– Jan. 24, session opens at noon.

– Feb. 2-7, recess for precinct caucuses.

– Feb. 21, new legislative district maps released.

– Feb. 29, new budget forecast unveiled.

– April 6-13, Easter-Passover break.

– April 30, legislative leaders plan to adjourn for the year.

– May 21, session must end under state Constitution.

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