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May 8, 2006

What else is there to say?

There are two weeks left in the 2006 legislative regular session. The Senate will vote on the Twins and the Gophers stadium bills this week. The Governor has said he will veto any Gophers stadium bill that includes a 13% memorabilia tax, and he has said he will veto any Twins stadium bill with a metro-wide sales tax.

When the Senate floor hears the bills, there will be attempts to revert them back to the way they passed the House: clean, unbloated, and simple.

If you haven't done so already, and I'd be surprised if you haven't, now is the time to write or call your Senator to tell him or her that you favor the House versions of the bills. The House versions both passed with bipartisan support and it is time for the Senate to follow suit.

If you don't know who your Senator is, use this handy district finder. And if you are actually anti-stadium and you'd like your Senator to not vote in favor of a Twins or Gophers stadium bills, use this handy link to find your state senator.

Make no mistake, if a Twins stadium bill fails to pass the legislature this session, it will be the fault of the Senate DFL. They know it, and we know it.

For me, it is as simple as that. Let's get this done and move on.

UPDATE: The Twins stadium bill debate is underway in the Senate. You can watch it online. Leave a comment if you see something interesting!

Posted by snackeru at May 8, 2006 10:34 PM | Stadiums 2006

Comments

Any update on the Senate floor session? Are they debating any stadiums yet?

Posted by: David Howe at May 9, 2006 11:47 AM

They just started debating the Gopher's bill

Posted by: Brent Metzler at May 9, 2006 11:48 AM

Pogemiller should go jump in a lake. I can't stand him. The House bill works for the Gophers. The student fees were agreed upon by the students. $50 a semester is minimal compared to everything we're paying for classes. Memorabilia tax stinks.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2006 12:11 PM

Keep the comments coming everyone! Let's all keep each other up to date on what is happening!

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 12:15 PM

Very accurate and very honest post Shane. Just like everything else you've always done on this site ! The only thing I have to add is if you are
a union member or know any union leaders (of any
union !) urge them to support the Hennepin/House
ballpark bill. Because YOU CAN'T BUILD A STADIUM
IF THE TWINS LEAVE MINNESOTA !!!

Posted by: jimj at May 9, 2006 12:15 PM

If we wanted the House Gophers bill, we want this to fail?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2006 12:23 PM

Pogemiller Gophers bill passes out of Senate 34-32. Damn. I don't like the Senate version.

Posted by: ML at May 9, 2006 12:26 PM

So, the Gophers bill that just passed is the one that Pawlenty said he would veto, correct?

Posted by: matt at May 9, 2006 12:32 PM

Pogemiller took out the memorabilia tax because Pawlenty asked him to and because "taxes start in the House, not in the Senate. We'll be adding the memorabilia tax to the omnibus tax bill." I'm pretty sure he said omnibus tax bill. So basically they passed a bill which doesn't have any funding attached right now. They also added an amendment stating they wouldn't give funds unless it's called "Veterans' Memorial Stadium". I think that's all that happened. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: ML at May 9, 2006 12:39 PM

Thanks for the clarification and update.
How or where is anyone following what transpires?

Posted by: matt at May 9, 2006 12:53 PM

To confirm everyone's suspicions, yes I am an idiot- I just now saw the link to watch the debate online. Sorry.

Posted by: matt at May 9, 2006 1:09 PM

Our IT people will not allow streaming video or audio...so any updates you guys can post are appreciated.

Posted by: David Howe at May 9, 2006 1:16 PM

If the senate stripped the sports merchandise tax out of the gophers bill because "taxes start in the House and not the Senate," doesn't that mean that Kelley's metro-wide sales tax would have to be stripped from the Twins bill too? What am I missing?

Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 1:28 PM

I don't know enough about that particular bills but the "taxes start in the House" rule is a gross oversimplification. For instance, allowing local governments to raise taxes is not included, the Senate can of course amend House bills, bills which have a primary purpose of something other than "raising taxes" are not included (maybe building a stadium?)...

Posted by: Neil at May 9, 2006 1:44 PM

Maybe Pogemiller was just making things up again. I'm really getting discouraged by this Twins bill right now. I'm starting to think it's going to get too heavy and collapse. Arghhhh.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2006 1:47 PM

That last post was mine. I forgot to add my name.

Posted by: ML at May 9, 2006 1:48 PM

So, what just happened with the 34-32 vote? What does that mean?

Posted by: matt at May 9, 2006 1:57 PM

The bloated, "dead on arrival" transit bill (with two stadiums) has passed. With a referendum still attached.

A conference committee is our only hope.

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 1:59 PM

And not only a conference committee, but the bill that comes out of committee still has to pass both the House and the Senate again.

The conference committee is going to be nasty.

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 2:02 PM

Conference Committee doesn't necessarily have to be "nasty." Senator Johnson has said that he will appoint pro-ballpark senators. I would guess that includes Kelley but not Pogemiller. Day appoints a couple members too. Considering that that the House bill would probably pass the whole senate, senate conferees could just vote to take the House version of the bill and would probably have enough votes in the Conference Committee and the Floor.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 2:26 PM

I agree with freealonzo -- worst case, the Senate could just take up the House bill again. And they still have almost two weeks to work this out.

Was there ever a vote to strip the referendum from Kelley's bill? I suppose I would be troubled if the whole senate voted to keep the referendum...

Posted by: spycake at May 9, 2006 2:31 PM

Kelley's on with Chad Hartman right now. Said that he didn't think his bill needed a referendum attached, but decided since the whole Tax Committee voted 12-0 for one, he kept it on. Also said, the House will need to say they don't concur on the Senate bill, appoint Conference Committee members. Once that occurs, Senate appoints members and first meeting could take place on Friday. Hopes agreement can come at least one full day before the end of the session.

Posted by: ML at May 9, 2006 2:51 PM

Conference Committee doesn't necessarily have to be "nasty." Senator Johnson has said that he will appoint pro-ballpark senators. I would guess that includes Kelley but not Pogemiller. Day appoints a couple members too. Considering that that the House bill would probably pass the whole senate, senate conferees could just vote to take the House version of the bill and would probably have enough votes in the Conference Committee and the Floor.

So, in short this was a lot of posing, but did not kill the house bill's chances of being heard in the Senate?

Posted by: J. Lichty at May 9, 2006 2:52 PM

To clarify.

1. Dean Johnson appoints the Senators, Steve Sviggum appoints the House members to the conf. cmte.

2. both are strong twins ballpark supporters

3. both are going to push for the house version

4. do not be surprised if the house version is the one that gets passed

5. the transit thing was a way of exorting more transit money out of the capitol bonding bill... not an effort to waylay the twins... i assure you on this.

6. unless something messed up happens shortly... conf. cmte could fix this, and the senate WILL support the twins when forced to an up or down vote.

Posted by: BT at May 9, 2006 2:54 PM

BT, that is really, really interesting. Two of your points:

3. both [Sviggum and Johnson] are going to push for the house version

and

5. the transit thing was a way of exorting more transit money out of the capitol bonding bill... not an effort to waylay the twins... i assure you on this.

Well, those two thoughts made my day. I don't know how accurate they are, but I am going to believe they are.

Yes, there is still hope.

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 2:59 PM

That transit funding angle is quite interesting, that worthy of further inquiry.

Also since the House is controlled by the R's in a small majority and the Senate controlled by the D's in a small majority, conference committees are typically bipartisan. For example the Bonding Bill Conference Committee is made up of 4 House R's, 1 House D, 4 Senate D's and 1 Senate R for a total of 10 conferees split right down the middle politically (granted the bonding bill is a different political animal).

Who is named to the conference committee will speak volumes about the future of the Twins ballpark.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 3:15 PM

Spycake wrote:

"Was there ever a vote to strip the referendum from Kelley's bill? I suppose I would be troubled if the whole senate voted to keep the referendum..."

OMG is Spycake coming around to being a ballpark supporter!?! What next David W?


Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 3:19 PM

Yes, I was also taken aback that spycake found it "troubling" that the referendum is still on the bill.

This is almost as much of a sign of the apocalypse as the thought of the legislature actually passing a workable Twins ballpark bill!

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 3:24 PM

the conferees will be "bipartisan" but ultimately the litmus test will be "pro twins, no refferendum" that is my understanding right now.

things move fast in politics... but the people with more info than me seem reasonably certain this deal will get done.

Posted by: BT at May 9, 2006 3:28 PM

Let's go Brewers! Oh wait, wrong message board...

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 9, 2006 3:34 PM

I sincerely hope BT is right but I just can't see
Kelley compromising on this. He needs this to salvage his race for governor! Also, Dean Johnson
said he's going to appoint Don Betzold to the conference committee. You might as well appoint
Zygi Wilf or Lester Bagley! He is a total SHILL
for Anoka County and the Vikings on this! Oh sure
they'll take the referendum off and then try to sell the 7 county tax without a referendum. DOA!

Posted by: jimj at May 9, 2006 3:49 PM

BT -- it sounds like you've got some contacts on the inside and it sounds like they are still optimistic. That is good. Any information you have concerning this feel free to share! The more information the better!

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 3:50 PM

Cheesehead if we lose this and the TWINS leave I
will do everything in my power to make MINNESOTA
into a CUBS state! The two people we should blame
most for this problem are Jerry Reinsdorf of the
WHITE SOX and our beloved MLB Commissioner Bud Selig ! Because of the sweetheart deals they negotiated with their states,Pohlad has insisted
that he get the same type of deal here !!

Posted by: jimj at May 9, 2006 4:00 PM

To be fair, I've never really been "anti-stadium" -- I've just voiced concerns about the various proposals and designs. I assumed there would be a move to strip the referendum from Kelley's bill, but it makes sense that it would be tougher to avoid the referendum over 7 counties instead of just Hennepin.

I think the transit angle is huge here -- Kelley's bill is primarily a transit bill that also pays for 2 stadiums. At the very least, it might force a small concession from Pawlenty (who supports some transit projects like Northstar) and ideally it would be great to lessen the burden on Hennepin County (and get better interest rates/pay off the debt quicker).

Posted by: spycake at May 9, 2006 4:25 PM

Yes JimJ,
Blame Selig and Reinsdorf for 10 years of the Twins and the MN Legislature not being able to get a stadium deal done. That's about the most absurd logic I've ever seen.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 9, 2006 4:45 PM

I am so confused and have no idea what will happen next.

Posted by: Vince at May 9, 2006 5:03 PM

I'm disturbed by the fact that noone even offered an ammendment to return the bill to status that passed the House. Does anyone know why? Did they just know they didn't have the votes and didn't bother?

Posted by: David Howe at May 9, 2006 6:07 PM

Mmmmmmm, Summit. I have a good feeling about this!
-Jiminstpaul

Posted by: Jiminstpaul at May 9, 2006 9:03 PM

I'm sure the senate didn't have the votes for the house bill. Part of the reason Steve Kelley added transit to the bill, is his support for the stadium was hurting his campaign for Governor among DFL activists.

Here's the problem - in the house there aren't votes for the senate plan - and in the senate, vice versa.

It should be an interesting conference committee.

The stadium alienates party activists - those who volunteer for campaigns - in both political parties.

What will be really interesting to watch is to see what votes the Taxpayer League scores. They should be rights score both the referendum vote AND the vote for the stadium in the house.

Posted by: Eva Young at May 9, 2006 9:32 PM

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