May 4, 2012 at 7:48 am
ST. PAUL, MN (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers are taking a day off as they prepare for a flurry of activity at the start of next week.
The Legislature won't meet Friday. But they'll be back in St. Paul on Monday for planned votes in the House and Senate on the nearly $1 billion Minnesota Vikings stadium bill. The debates leading up to the vote are likely to be long and contentious.
KARE 11 political reporter John Croman is reporting sources believe there are enough votes in the House to pass the stadium bill, but passage in the Senate is uncertain.
"In the House, the DFL is going to put up 34 votes," Vikings VP Lester Bagley told KARE 11. "We've got some firm Republican votes and we've got some more that we're working and there's people that are kind of in the middle of this issue that we're working to push over the fence on our side. That's the process we're going through right now."
For his part, Governor Dayton is urging state residents who support the "people's stadium" bill to weigh in. "I ask all Minnesotans, who care about the stadium, to contact their legislators and urge them to vote 'Yes' next Monday," Dayton said.
"We're going to have a vote after this long and winding road, the many months and many years that Minnesotans have heard about this issue. We're going to have a vote about the future of the Vikings in Minnesota and that's what this is about," added Bagley.
Also awaiting votes next week are dueling House and Senate versions of a package of infrastructure improvements and building projects around the state, financed by construction bonds. Both packages are just under $500 million but vary somewhat in their details.
Lawmakers had hoped to finish up the 2012 session by the end of April, but aren't required to finish until May 21.