ST. PAUL -- For the first time since the special session began, the end seemed imminent.
An agreement Wednesday night on a $7.5 billion health program funding bill put the Legislature in position to finish its work by the end of the week, possibly as early as Thursday evening.
"I believe very strongly that today is the day," House Speaker Steve Sviggum said.
What's left to do?
* A transportation bill that relies on state borrowing and federal funds for a $900 million road-building binge awaits Senate action.
* The Senate must pass a tax plan. The version in its hands reduces the state's financial commitment to local governments.
* Both chambers need to vote on a $7.5 billion bill to fund health and welfare programs for the poor, unemployed, elderly and disabled Minnesotans.
* Both chambers need to sign off on a bonding bill that will fund $216 million worth of building and infrastructure upgrades. More than half are college campus-related projects, but $30 million in arts initiatives are causing a snag.
* A nearly $12 billion education bill approved last week now faces a lawsuit threat and could be revised.
Then there's the new gun law.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the sponsors of the state's revised conceal-and-carry gun law are seeking a one-word change -- turning an "and" into "or" -- to simplify notification requirements on businesses and churches trying to keep guns off their property. But opponents of the new law said they were preparing for another full-blown debate on the heated issue.
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