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March 15, 2006

The path a bill would take

A recent correspondence with Twins Geek and yesterday's discussion of a possible delay by Krinkie's Taxes Committee got me to thinking: what actually needs to happen if a Twins stadium is ever to be built in this God-forsaken state? I have always had a rough idea in my head of the path a bill would take, so I decided to spell it all out for you. And once you read this, you will hopefully understand what a daunting task this really is:

  1. The first thing that needs to happen is the Governor or "legislative leaders" need to ask Hennepin County to being negotiating a new agreement with the Twins. Last year's agreement expired in December. A possible sticking point in these negotiations will be the extra $30 million needed to pay for the facility.
  2. Hennepin County and the Twins come up with an agreement that results in a bill in both the Minnesota House and Senate. Again, we are not at this point. There isn't a bill right now, and negotiations between the Twins and the County haven't even started yet.
  3. The bill would then need to be passed by a number of committees. In the House, the path for stadium legislation has typically been the Government Operations Committee, the Local Government Committee, the Taxes Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee. However, in a shortened session, how many committees will the legislation need to go through to finally get to the floor of the House? And furthermore, if Krinkie carries through with his threats and he doesn't hear the bill until mid-May, I can see this backfiring on him and expediting the bill to the House floor. How many committees this bill will need to go through in the House is a mystery, but I wouldn't think it would escape committee work without passing through the Taxes Committee at the very least. Luckily, it looks like the votes are there to pass this frustrating committee.
  4. If the bill passes all the committees, it will get to the floor of the House where it will continue to be hammered by anti-stadium legislators. There is a chance that a referendum will be attached as an amendment to the bill in committee work, but I wouldn't panic if that happens. Once the bill gets to the floor, there are enough votes to strip any uneeded amendments off the bill. For the sake of this exercise, let's pretend the bill passes the House as a workable bill that will actually result in a stadium.
  5. In the Senate, the corresponding Senate version of the bill would also need to pass a number of committees before it gets to the floor of that legislative body. Right now, we know the bill would start in the State and Local Government Operations Committee, but after that it is a little bit of an unknown. Typically the Senate has waited for the House to pass a stadium bill before it will even begin working on their version. After the State and Local Government Operations Committee I'm pretty sure a bill would have to pass Pogemiller's Senate Taxes Committee, but truthfully the committees in between and after are unknown.
  6. Once the bill passes through committees in the Senate it would go to the floor of the Senate where it has always been asssumed that it would have a much easier time passing than a corresponding bill in the House. Hopefully we'll get a chance to find out if this is true.
  7. Let's say that a workable stadium bill passes both the House and the Senate. While that would be amazing in itself, most likely the two bills passed would have some differences. Potentially even major differences. So, a conference committee would need to be called to work out those differences and come up with a bill that everyone can hopefully agree on.
  8. The resulting conference committee bill would need to be voted on by the full House and the full Senate again. I know, can this process get any more painful?
  9. Yes, it can. After the bill passes the House and the Senate it must be signed into law by the governor. T-Paw, in an election year, would have to sign a bill into law that raises a tax in Hennepin County to build a Twins stadium. You better believe T-Paw will be feeling the pressure from anti-stadium zealots and the Taxpayer's League to not sign this bill.
  10. Let's say T-Paw does sign the bill into law. All done right? Wrong. Now, the Hennepin County commissioners will meet again to vote on whether or not to proceed with the plan based on the resulting bill passed by our legislature. Conceivably, there could be some parts of the bill that don't make the commissioners happy, and they could vote to not proceed. This is extremely unlikely since the pro-stadium commissioners will be a part of the legislative process in an advisory capacity, but it could happen. Most likely the vote in the Hennepin County Commissioners meeting will be 4-3 in favor of the bill, with Linda Koblick, Gail Dorfman, and Penny Steele vociferously and angrily protesting its passage.
  11. At this point, if a bill got this far, if it actually got to the point where the first shovel-full of dirt could be dug, monkeys would fly out of my butt. And thus ends the path a bill would take.

So, do you have a better understanding of what needs to happen for a Twins stadium to actually be built? I don't know, but writing all this out makes it seem almost impossible. The 2006 legislative session will end on May 22nd. Can all this work be done before that date? Don't worry, I'll never give up! It also demonstrates the importance of contacting our legislative leaders and making your voice heard.

As always, please let me know if I've missed anything. Until next time, have a good one!

Posted by snackeru at March 15, 2006 8:23 AM | Stadiums 2006


That's quite an exhaustive list, Shane. If the Twins and Hennepin County have yet to start renegotiating the deal, Krinkie may not get any bill before mid-May! Any word on if/when Pawlenty or the legislature might ask the county to start?

Posted by: spycake at March 15, 2006 10:29 AM

I have been monitoring that situation closely and as of today nothing is in the works. This has me concerned, but the bill will probably look almost exactly like it did last year. Maybe negotiations won't take that long.

HC is obviously holding off on negotiations until the governor or legislative leaders prove to them they want to do some work on this issue. Really, why do the leg work if the legislature will just thumb their collective noses at the bill in the first place?

Also, spycake, I have a response to your questions of yesterday. My anonymous source would like to remain anonymous since he can see I am getting threatening comments.

Posted by: Shane at March 15, 2006 11:07 AM

I respect his anonymity, but I'm just curious for more details. I found "coverage ratio" referenced in a 1997 House document, but nothing about the 30% threshold, and nothing in relation to the current stadium plan.


Posted by: spycake at March 15, 2006 1:51 PM

Why is it that those of us who oppose public funding of a stadium are called 'zealots' while supporters, who seem even more vocal and emotional, are portrayed as just normal, rational (and exemplary)folk? Some slanted reporting here.

Posted by: Gary Fouty at March 15, 2006 3:23 PM

Should this really be characterized as "reporting?" There is quite a bit of factual information, but Shane's views should be readily apparent my reading the header on the front page. This blog should not be held to newspaper-like standards; I would assert that very few blogs can be.

I would also argue that the blogmasters' use of the word "zealot" is not meant to be literal. Take a chill pill, man...

Curt in Grand Forks

Posted by: Curt Hanson at March 15, 2006 4:03 PM

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