BAXTER -- Four of five area legislators at Friday's Eggs and Issues session predicted there won't be another special legislative session this year.
Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, was the dissenter, stating that with 201 legislators clamoring for special projects the governor will find it difficult not to call lawmakers back to St. Paul.
"There will be a special session," he said.
The lawmakers spoke at a Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce breakfast at Bonanza Family Restaurant.
Howes disagreed with a Brainerd Dispatch editorial calling for the Legislature to vote on the various stadium issues in special session.
"We killed that bugger in committee four times," he said, explaining later that a House panel let leadership know the Twins bill would be voted down in committee.
Howes said he would be perfectly happy to vote no on the issue again as long as Hennepin County residents didn't get a chance to vote on it.
Rep. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, was more conciliatory toward the stadium proposals, stating sports teams help build a brand name for the state and he'd listen to proposals that would not cost the taxpayers money. He said he hopes there's not a special session.
Rep. Greg Blaine, R-Little Falls, said a State Fair poll strongly indicated most Minnesotans did not want a special session called. The Little Falls farmer said he's behind in his own work because of the extra seven weeks he spent in St. Paul when the Legislature went into special session.
"I have no desire, right now, to have to go back to St. Paul," Blaine said.
Blaine said the majority of Minnesotans would just as soon the Legislature take care of the remaining issues when they go back for the second half of the biennium.
Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, said proponents of a Defense of Marriage Amendment are polling lawmakers on that bill in anticipation of a special session. He said he doesn't believe the governor will call a special session unless the Senate and House leadership can secure an agreement from the amendment sponsors that they won't bring up that issue during a short special session.
"That could hamper efforts to have a special session," Koering said.
Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, said she heard someone suggest that enough lawmakers could simply ignore a request by the governor for a special session and the bodies would fail to reach a quorum.
She did, however, express hope the state's sports teams would stay put without raising taxes.
"I think Minnesota would be foolish to lose its professional sports teams," she said. "I think we'll be smart enough to keep them."
She said she wasn't comfortable with the leadership deciding the fate of key issues and then summoning the legislators to St. Paul to ratify their decision. Ruud said her constituents elected her to give her input into these issues.
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5860.
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