ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD) – On this first day of the 2020 legislative session, big differences over the dollar amount of a bonding bill for state public works projects.

Some Democrats are talking three-and-a-half billion dollars — likely the largest figure ever proposed in Minnesota. House Speaker Melissa Hortman won’t quote a specific number.

“We should have the largest responsible sized bonding bill that we can have,” said Hortman.

Hortman adds that she would like to see the state commit to maintaining buildings on college campuses and water and wastewater infrastructure that have long been forgotten about.

Senate Republicans, though, want a much smaller bonding bill, probably under a billion dollars.

“Focus on wastewater infrastructure and roads and bridges,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.

Lawmakers also have to figure out what to do with a $1.3 billion dollar budget surplus.