Vikings Stadium Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Conference Committee

The Minnesota Senate followed its House counterparts and passed a version of the Vikings stadium bill late Tuesday night. After 11 hours of debate and some notable changes to the original bill, the Senate approved the measure with 38-28.

One amendment added to the final bill would reduce the state's contribution by $25 million, shifting that to the Vikings. That differs sharply from the bill passed by the House on Monday, which upped the Vikings' share by $105 million. A team spokesperson called the House bill "unworkable."

A Vikings spokesperson, VP Lester Bagley, reiterated the team's opposition to changing the shape of which entity pays what amount.

Via KARE 11 in the Twin Cities:

"We stand with the term sheet, which was negotiated in good faith, over a period of months. It has us in for $427 million upfront and $13 million a year," Bagley told reporters.

Sen. Julie Rosen, the bill's leading proponent in the Senate, said that she believed the Vikings would have to up their share of the costs by at least the $25 million included in the Senate bill.

Other amendments were tacked on in the Senate. One amendment removed a provision that would have allowed team owner Zygi Wilf exclusive rights to bring a Major League Soccer team to Minnesota. Another provision creates a mandatory sales tax on purchases made from Internet retailers, such as Amazon. The bill also included an amendment for the state to retain naming rights of the plaza around the stadium and another one giving tax breaks for expansion at the Mall of America.

Another amendment approved by the Senate says that games played at the stadium cannot be blacked out locally.

Two controversial amendments were passed by the Senate and later rescinded. One would have forced a referendum on the stadium in the city of Minneapolis, something the initial compromise bill sought to avoid. An amendment establishing hefty user fees at the stadium, ranging from tickets to concessions, was approved and later pulled from the bill.

Some user fees did finally make it into the bill -- a 10 percent fee for the sale of luxury suites and a 10 percent fee on parking. The team opposes any user fees in the bill.

Next, the bill moves to a conference committee of House and Senate members that will reconcile the two versions of the bill before sending a final version back to each chamber for approval. Three members from each chamber, all supporters of the stadium bill, will make up the conference committee. If the bill passes again, it would go Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

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