May 3, 2006Prayer, politics and the stadium
It's official. You now need a scorecard to keep the stadium plans straight.
DFL Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson used his power as chair of the Senate Rules Committee to break a logjam in the Senate Taxes Committee and send a stadium bill to the Senate floor. But the bill is much different from the Twins bill passed by the GOP-controlled House.
Specifically, the bill pays for two stadiums with roofs. One is for the Twins; the other is for the Vikings. It raises the sales tax in the seven county metro area by .5 percent, but only if voters approve. And it pays for much more than stadiums. The higher sales tax would raise more than $12 billion over 30 years that would be spent on metro area transit projects.
Early in the day Tuesday Johnson was asked about the plans prospects in the tax committee:
"Once in awhile, chairs need some prompting, some coaching, some counseling, some encouragement. And I would say that the entire tax committee needs all of the above and more, to include prayer," he said.
But Johnson did more than just pray, as MPR's Tom Scheck reports:
In a day of political maneuvering, Senate DFLers took the unusual step of removing the Twins bill from the Senate Taxes Committee and sent it to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee, which is controlled by senior DFLers, then dramatically overhauled the bill.
Twins stadium supporters and many Republicans are howling. This is from the Pioneer Press:
House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, predicted the Republican House majority would not accept the two-stadium combination or the metrowide sales tax, which was proposed Tuesday in the DFL-led Senate Rules Committee.
Gov. Pawlenty put out a statement saying voters should challenge Senate DFLers to explain how the bill would actually build a Twins stadium. Of course it's the Senate DFL plan, not the House plan Pawlenty supports, that now actually formally asks voters to weigh in.
All this happened a few hours after legislative leaders said they want the session to end early. They said there's no reason the session can't end May 17, five days before the constitutional deadline. Anybody want to bet they'll make it?
Last week ago supporters of a gay marriage ban were upset at the Associated Press over an article questioning their financial disclosure. Now they've vented their anger by questioning the spending of their opponents. The AP's Martiga Lohn had the story:
Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage - whose own reporting practices have been under scrutiny - contended that OutFront Minnesota isn't revealing enough about its activities to keep the issue of same-sex unions off the ballot in November.
The groups cited deny they did anything wrong. Remember when the debate over gay marriage actually involved gay marriage?
Posted by Mike Mulcahy at 7:07 AM