Earlier this year, many believed that the first special session, called to provide the Legislature with an opportunity to reject Governor Walz's executive order establishing a peacetime emergency related to the COVID-19 outbreak, might last all summer. A 159-day special session in 1971 holds the record for the longest one. Like clockwork, four special sessions have been called this year as the peacetime emergency orders expire. These orders have not broken a record for length, but Friday's special session will break another record: the first time the state has held four in a calendar year.
Even calling three special sessions in a year is unusual. The three special sessions called by Governor Arne Carlson in 1997 were for a variety of reasons--K-12 funding, flood relief, and funding for a baseball stadium. Those held in both 1981 and 1982 were all called in an attempt to solve the dire financial circumstances the state faced during Governor Al Quie's years in office.
As his peacetime emergency orders expire, the Governor has continued to call a special session. Once the special session convenes, it is up to the legislature to determine the length and actions taken. 2020 is a record breaking year and there may still be more special sessions yet to come!