Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings are close to a new stadium after the House early today approved a construction plan 71-60. Representatives debated the stadium bill an hour and 50 minutes after day-long negotiations produced a compromise bill after the House and Senate passed differing versions. Soon after passing the stadium bill, the House adjourned for the year before 4 a.m. today. Senators expect to take up the bill later today before adjourning until 2013. If they pass it, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill.
ST. PAUL - The task of finding a way to build a Vikings stadium falls to six legislative negotiators after the House and Senate passed different plans. The stadium half dozen will negotiate to find compromises that the Legislature can accept when the bill returns for full House and Senate votes. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said it is time to "sit down and roll up our sleeves" as the details of the final bill are hammered out. Senate bill author Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said the House-Senate conference committee will start work as soon as possible.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Vikings fans would pay user fees under a revised Senate bill to construct a stadium debated Tuesday. Many senators, especially conservative Republicans, prefer expanding those fees to all users of a new stadium or finding other funding sources to eliminate the need for gambling to support construction. Project funding dominated much of Tuesday's Senate stadium debate. That debate continued at press time.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota colleges, roads, bridges, sewers and even the state Capitol building could get state money under a public works bill the House approved Monday and the Senate debated late. The House voted 99-32 in favor of the bonding bill. While debating the bill Monday night, the Senate made a small funding change, which means the House will have to approve the plan again or it will go to negotiators if the Senate moves it forward.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House approved a new Vikings stadium late Monday. The 73-58 vote sends it to the Senate, where it could be debated Tuesday or Wednesday. The $975 million proposal funded in part by charitable gambling taxes would be the largest single project the Legislature ever has approved. The Senate also passed the measure, it likely would be handed to negotiators to work out differences between the two bills and the House and Senate would vote on the stadium again in a few days. "The people of Minnesota, fans, they want us to do something," Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House this afternoon passed a public works finance bill 99-32 that would spend nearly a half billion dollars on a wide range of projects, ranging from beginning a several-year Capitol building renovation project to fixing college buildings. Senators could take up the measure later today. In general, Democrats wanted to spend more money while Republicans preferred less. Rep.
ST. PAUL -- The Dean plan will be an asterisk in the Great Stadium Debate of 2012, but it provided an interesting diversion while Minnesotans awaited a legislative vote about a new Vikings stadium. House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said he had worked a couple of weeks trying to find a solution to funding a stadium, but he was not ready for prime time when Gov. Mark Dayton caught wind of it. In an unusual move, Dayton went public with rumors he heard about the plan Tuesday morning, a day after Republican leaders had planned to adjourn for the year.
ST. PAUL -- It will be a Monday night football game like none other. The Minnesota Legislature plans to finally debate a Vikings stadium plan Monday, a debate many predict to last 12 hours in each chamber. The $975 million facility is the single largest construction project state lawmakers ever have considered. "The Vikings and the governor believe the votes are there," House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said Thursday in announcing the plan for a Monday vote. However, in the past couple of days even some stadium supporters have doubted there are enough votes to pass the plan.
ST. PAUL -- The Vikings stadium saga illustrates tricks legislators use to turn their dreams into state law. The stadium construction plan needed to go through many committees, each examining part of the plan. Tax committees, for instance, were charged with looking at how the proposal dealt with a plan to change how charitable gambling is taxed. Local government committees needed to look at how the plan affected local governments. Each committee posed a challenge, and one House committee actually defeated the plan.
ST. PAUL -- A Vikings stadium construction bill that was gaining speed hit a number of roadblocks Wednesday, threatening its passage. Authors said they need to regroup. The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill 9-5 Wednesday, but added a proposal to allow casinos at the state's two horse-racing tracks as a backup funding source. It is a change Senate bill author Julie Rosen said could kill the measure. "We need to regroup and move forward," Rosen, R-Fairmont, said.