- Associated Press - Friday, January 8, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders said Friday they need more time to decide on a special session, putting hopes of bringing back lawmakers before the end of the month in doubt.

Lawmakers are weighing a heavy agenda they may tackle before the Legislature resumes in early March. Panels started reviewing ideas on Thursday for bringing Minnesota in compliance with a federal high-security driver’s license law, for extending unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers and for tackling racial economic disparities.

After a status check with Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk on Friday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt said those working groups will continue meeting next week in hopes of making a final call.

“We agree that all of them need at least one more meeting,” Daudt. “These issues need to be solved.”

Despite hopes for a special session before January concludes, Dayton and Daudt said Friday it may need to wait until early February.

State officials got a bit of a reprieve late Friday when the Department of Homeland Security said it wouldn’t require security-enhanced driver’s licenses at airport checkpoints until 2018, which is later than many were expecting. The Real ID Act, approved by Congress in 2005, set minimum standards for licenses in response to security concerns following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Enforcement of those requirements has repeatedly been delayed.

Daudt said earlier in the day that lawmakers could have a fix queued up for the Legislature’s regularly scheduled start on March 8.

Dayton said he wouldn’t set a deadline for a final decision, but says he’s leaving it up to the two legislative leaders to get lawmakers on board or ditch the idea entirely.

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