Vikings stadium still alive in the Senate; crucial week begins

8:32 AM, Apr 23, 2012   |    comments
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Downtown East stadium rendering

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Capitol was quiet Sunday afternoon. No sports league commissioners or legislative lobbyists were there. No one was sweeping the floors. No one was waiting for the elevator. Call it the calm before the session ending storm, and expect some of that urgent talk in the coming days to contain some stadium conversations.

"For some people, this is just a simple question. Yes or no?" Hamline University Political Science Professor David Schultz said. The discussion did heat up 2 days prior when a Senate Committee moved a stadium plan forward following a visit from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

House File 2810 died earlier last week. The bill had made it through the Commerce and Rules Committees before falling flat in front of the Government Operations panel. "If it's not winning in committees, it's difficult to get it on the floor," Schultz warned.

But there is optimism surrounding Fairmont Republican Senator Julie Rosen's plan, Senate File 2391. After a long wait, the proposal made it through the Government Ops Committee. Rosen said it was on the fast track to be heard by "Rules" and "Jobs and Economic Growth" lawmakers before possibly ending up in front of the Tax and Finance Committees. If it survives those two groups, it'll head to the full Senate floor for a vote.

Schultz says it'll have to move through the capitol alongside other priorities. "I think you do some kind of bonding bill and then second, I think it's hard to go to the public and say we're not going to fix the State Capitol, which is falling apart, but we're going to provide funding for a Vikings Stadium?" Schultz said.

They'll certainly be talking about a "People's Stadium" in the "People's House" in the coming days, as lawmakers scramble to finish off the session and head back to their districts to campaign for their return to the legislature. The stadium, at this point, is still alive. "I still think the odds are against it at this point, but again, in the last week strange things can happen in terms of momentum, in terms of how things shift," Schultz concluded.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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