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Chaos Reigns as Minnesota Legislators Pass Bills They Haven't Read

Pleas for information on the bill up for a vote went ignored Monday night.

Pleas for information on the bill up for a vote went ignored Monday night.

These are strange days in Minnesota politics. As the 2015 legislative session devolved into chaos with little to show for five months of squabbling over how to spend the state's $2 billion surplus, the House Majority passed a $110 million jobs and energy bill that most lawmakers did not actually read.

They did this in the very last minute before Monday's midnight deadline to close out the session.

See also: Governor Dayton, Democrats Wuss Out to Mining Interests Over Clean Water

Watch the madness:

The jobs and energy bill was punted out of the Senate with about three minutes to spare. As it went up for a vote in the House, lawmakers cried out for copies.

"It's 93 pages long and nobody in this body has gotten a copy of it," one woman called out. "We have no idea what's in this bill."

Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), chair of the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee, could be heard saying that he'd emailed the bill to her a half-hour before.

Mass panic ensued. As House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) asked for any further discussion, lawmakers clamored to speak. "There being no further discussion, the clerk will take the roll on the bill," Daudt announced.

The bill passed, followed by a speedy adjournment. It was then sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, who's already upset because he recently received an education finance bill that fell way short of what he wanted to put aside for students.

As promised, Dayton promptly vetoed the eduction bill on Tuesday because it doesn't include the $173 million necessary to support universal preschool, doesn't fund Bureau of Indian Education schools, doesn't fund English language programs or special education, and doesn't fund free breakfasts for pre-K and first graders, among other things.

Now lawmakers are due back at their desks for a special session. The governor and the legislature have until June 30 to agree on the education bill to avoid a government shutdown.

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