The Forum news services’ Dana Ferguson writes: “State lawmakers are laying out a contingency plan should budget negotiations in the nation’s only divided Legislature fall flat. Members of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, May 16, on a party-line vote advanced a bill that would continue state funding at levels slightly above existing ones if legislative leaders and the governor can’t strike a budget deal before Monday, May 20. Closed-door negotiations continued Thursday between House and Senate leaders along with Gov. Tim Walz, but details of those talks remained private.”

In the Star Tribune, Mara Klecker says, “School districts across the state this week received voter endorsement of construction and renovation projects topping $539 million. Voters approved seven of 15 building referendums on Tuesday. The eight that failed were all in greater Minnesota and would have totaled more than $250 million in building projects. … The largest of the rejected funding requests was in Owatonna, which had sought voter approval for $116 million to construct a new high school. That number had been scaled back from $138 million after $22 million in offers of cash and materials from major employers in the city.”