One present the Minnesota Legislature did *not* leave under the Christmas tree was COVID bonuses for front-line workers, which could be back to square one when lawmakers return in late January.

The big budget surplus has hardened Democrats’ push to have more workers eligible for bonuses than Republicans want.  Republicans temporarily shelved their threat to oust Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm — if Governor Tim Walz would agree during a special session on worker bonuses to also prohibit any COVID vaccination mandates by the state.   Not surprisingly, that didn’t fly, and so we’ll see what happens during the regular session.