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ST. PAUL, Minn. - A visit by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Friday underlines the gravity of the Vikings stadium situation, as Minnesota lawmakers consider three different stadium plans.
The bills will be heard in the Local Government Operations Committee Friday afternoon. KARE 11 political reporter John Croman provides a brief breakdown on each.
- Senator Julie Rosen's original stadium bill, the same one that was tabled by the same committee March 14. She may add electronic scratch-off games as a back-up to pull-tabs.
- Senator Roger Chamberlain's stadium bill that would require Vikings to repay the government construction bonds, essentially forcing the team to foot the entire bill over time. The Vikings are on record as not supporting this one.
- Senator Jim Metzen's bill moving the stadium back to Arden Hills, and allowing a casino to help finance state's share. The local share would come in the form of a 2 percent beverage tax in suburban Ramsey County, which would be subject to a referendum. That money would go toward highway improvements to support the site and increased traffic, so stadium wouldn't have to wait for election.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk tells KARE he will round up at least one more DFL vote in the Government Operations Committee to move Rosen's bill along but cautions that the Tax Committee will be even tougher on the Metrodome site proposal.
Goodell and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney will sit down with Governor Mark Dayton, stadium bill authors and key lawmakers Friday morning to underline the urgency of the Vikings getting a new facility. Goodell was in Los Angeles earlier this week, likely to discuss moving a team or awarding an expansion franchise to the city.
Making things even more murky are reports that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf's private jet was spotted at the airport in San Diego Thursday. Media speculation is that Wilf may have met with Los Angeles officials but there is no confirmation that such a meeting took place.
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