The Minnesota House passed a slightly altered version of a compromise plan to fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. Hours of debate preceded a 73-58 vote in favor of the plan for a new facility to be built on top of the current Metrodome location, with rough costs covered by Minnesota and Minneapolis taxpayers.
The Minnesota Senate will take up the bill Tuesday morning, with the intention of voting on it by the end of the day. After that, the bill would make the usual stops on its way to becoming law, conference committee and eventually the Governor's desk. However, the version passed by the House Monday night contains a provision that could pose a problem outside the capitol building, with the Vikings and the NFL.
House members pitched a variety of amendments to attach to the bill, amendments not unexpected given the usual partisan fault lines touched by the stadium bill. An amendment upping the Vikings' share by $105 million will require further wrangling among lawmakers.
The NFL expressed displeasure at the cost-shifting amendment in the bill. League vice president of venture and business operations, Eric Grubman, warned legislators about the recalculated financial plan in their bill.
Via the Pioneer Press:
"After months of negotiation and compromise and the building of a legislative coalition, albeit a fragile one, any meaningful change of the bill drastically changes the probability of success. You can't change the deal at the last minute."
If the Senate passes a version of the bill on Tuesday, it would go to conference committee for another round of negotiations. Additional votes could follow before it lands on Gov. Dayton's desk. The plan would surely have to change if the Vikings and the league will agree to it.
Hours of contentious debate inside the House chambers was followed closely by a gallery full of spectators and a boisterous crowd of supporters in the hallways, a crowd that seemed far more modest in a tailgating event under the clear blue skies outside the capitol.
Fans, labor unions and other supporters of the bill gathered as part of a no holds barred lobbying effort, one that included fan favorites Jared Allen and Christian Ponder. Over the weekend, supporters conducted phone banks encouraging citizens to contact their representatives in an effort usually seen reserved for more traditional partisan issues.
The other fundamentals of the bill stayed the same. Expanded gambling revenues would still pay for the state's share of the costs in the bill passed by the House, despite attempts to change that.
Gov. Dayton's tone changed from ominous to optimistic, cautiously optimistic, following the House vote. In a brief set of remarks, the Governor pointed to the results as substantiation of public support while noting the hurdles left to cross, according to reports from the scene.