The Minnesota Senate voted 38-28 in favor of a bill that would finance a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
The vote came after ten hours of debate that turned personal at times.
The move now means the stadium is one step closer to becoming reality. It passed the House and Senate. The two bodies will now have to reconcile their differences on the bill.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the bill's chief author, said the stadium issue has been a work in progress for 12 years. Rosen said this session's bill is the best plan to date.
"Is there room for improvement? Absolutely there is," Rosen said. "But it has been the product of a bipartisan working group in play for the last 18 months."
But critics complained that the electronic pull-tab plan that finances the state's portion of the stadium will never materialize.
Opponents said the state was falling victim to extortion by professional football, and suggestions the team might leave Minnesota. Others like Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said the NFL has a messed up economic system, and Minnesota shouldn't be playing along with it. Marty said the public subsidy is too big.
"Even if you feel we have no choice and we've got to play along, I seriously question the wisdom of saying we have to offer the all time, number one, biggest taxpayer subsidy for any professional sports franchise in any sport in history," Marty said.
A joint House/Senate conference committee will now debate the merits of each bill. The House members on the conference committee are Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska and Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-Mankato. The Senate members are Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria and Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth.
No word on when the conference committee will start working.
Here's how the votes broke down by party (via The Associated Press):
ST. PAUL (AP) _ Votes Tuesday as the Senate, on a 38-28 vote, approved a measure to finance a new Vikings stadium. Voting yes were 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans. Voting no were 8 Democrats and 20 Republicans.
DEMOCRATS VOTING YES
Bakk (Cook); Bonoff (Minnetonka); Cohen (St. Paul); Goodwin (Columbia Heights); Harrington (St. Paul); Higgins (Minneapolis); Kelash (Minneapolis); Koenen (Clara City); Langseth (Glyndon); Latz (St. Louis Park); Metzen (South St. Paul); Pappas (St. Paul); Reinert (Duluth); Rest (New Hope); Saxhaug (Grand Rapids); Sheran (Mankato); Sieben (Newport); Skoe (Clearbrook); Sparks (Austin); Stumpf (Plummer); Tomassoni (Chisholm); Wiger (Maplewood)
DEMOCRATS VOTING NO
Dibble (Minneapolis); Dziedzic (Minneapolis); Eaton (Brooklyn Center); Hayden (Minneapolis); Lourey (Kerrick); Marty (Roseville); McGuire (Falcon Heights); Torres Ray (Minneapolis)
REPUBLICANS VOTING YES
Carlson (Bemidji); Fischbach (Paynesville); Gimse (Willmar); Howe (Red Wing); Ingebrigtsen (Alexandria); Jungbauer (East Bethel); Koch (Buffalo); Magnus (Slayton); Michel (Edina); Miller (Winona); Nelson (Rochester); Nienow (Cambridge); Pederson (St. Cloud); Robling (Jordan); Rosen (Fairmont); Senjem (Rochester)
REPUBLICANS VOTING NO
Benson (Ham Lake); Brown (Becker); Chamberlain (Lino Lakes); Dahms (Redwood Falls); Daley (Eagan); DeKruif (Madison Lake); Gazelka (Brainerd); Gerlach (Apple Valley); Hall (Burnsville); Hann (Eden Prairie); Hoffman (Vergas); Kruse (Brooklyn Park); Lillie (Lake Elmo); Limmer (Maple Grove); Newman (Hutchinson); Ortman (Chanhassen); Parry (Waseca); Thompson (Lakeville); Vandeveer (Forest Lake); Wolf (Spring Lake Park)
REPUBLICANS NOT VOTING
Thank you to the Senators who voted for the stadium bill. Those who voted against the bill should please reconsider their vote as this will likely come up again when the conference committee produces the final version of the stadium bill.