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Partisan meltdown brings Minnesota's legislative session to a bitter end

Minnesota legislators were more than a month into a quiet session when the unexpected happened: Uber and Lyft threatened to leave the Twin Cities over an ordinance enacted by the Minneapolis City Council, and a Democratic state senator was arrested and charged with felony first-degree burglary.

The two events would upend the rest of the DFL-controlled body's session. Democrats scrambled to pass a bill that would prevent the rideshare companies from leaving parts of the state, causing other priorities such as a bonding bill and an expanded version of the Equal Rights Amendment to fall by the wayside. And the arrest of Sen. Nicole Mitchell opened a gaping partisan divide in the Senate, prompting Republicans to attempt to expel her and drag out debates in protest of her continued participation in the chamber.

Partisan tensions erupted in the session's final hours, as Democrats merged several remaining bills on higher education, transportation, gun safety and other issues into a monster 1,400-page omnibus. They suspended debate and passed the bill in a single vote. Cries of "tyranny" and "communism" echoed through the Capitol as dozens of Republicans shouted into their microphones in protest.


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