ST. PAUL -- After spending the weekend filling in details, lawmakers viewed today as the time to polish session-ending bills and get them ready for floor votes Tuesday.
''It's coming together,'' House Speaker Steve Sviggum said. He expected no major glitches that would hold up completion of the 2000 session.
Several conference committees spent all day and much of the night Sunday hammering out legislation dealing with education funding, borrowing for public works projects, taxes and other spending.
Still outstanding were bills dealing with education spending, the Profile of Learning and bonding. Some of those meetings resumed early this morning.
''If they're not done by noon I think we will be making a little visit to the committees,'' said Sviggum, R-Kenyon.
Sviggum, House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty and Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe stepped in to soothe problems Sunday that could have threatened a three-way budget deal reached by House GOP and Senate DFL leaders and the governor's office.
The deal was based solely on ongoing spending, but the distribution of one-time surplus money remained a key piece to the puzzle.
This morning, Moe said everything was ''at or near the final stages of completion.''
Tax negotiators planned to release a final version of their plan by 1 p.m. The package will include income-tax cuts, some farm relief, license tab cuts sought by Gov. Jesse Ventura and a sales tax rebate of up to $710 million.
''We're within a couple of items of having an agreement,'' said Senate Tax Chairman Doug Johnson, DFL-Tower.
Pawlenty, R-Eagan, said a final bonding bill likely would include $58 million for a new Bureau of Criminal Apprehension office and lab, something Ventura pushed for this session. Besides that, a committee was discussing how to apportion another $480 million in public works projects.
Despite the marathon meetings, lawmakers were generally in good spirits. The mood seemed to indicate that the end was near to a session that spanned three months and will wind up to be weeks longer than planned.
''I think everybody will be happy to get out of here,'' said House Minority Leader Tom Pugh, DFL-South St. Paul. ''The last three weeks have been frustrating.''
Also today, the House Rules and Administration Committee was scheduled to take up the bill for a unicameral Legislature, which is another of Ventura's priorities. The committee was likely to endorse the bill, but it may have one more stop before reaching the floor.
But Pawlenty, a unicameral supporter and chairman of the committee, was skeptical about the bill's chances.
''It doesn't appear to have the votes to pass in the Senate,'' Pawlenty said. ''Some of the momentum for the issue in the House has kind of leaked as well. I don't think House members feel as strongly about it as they did a month ago.''
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