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Capitol springs a leak as idea of a revived bonding bill takes flight

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: May 20, 2013 - 12:13 AM

Updated

With just hours left in the regular session, legislative leaders started talking about reviving a slimmed down borrowing bill to fund state capital projects.

"We’re going to try and sit down with the Republican leaders today,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said late Sunday.

Those bonding bills require a supermajority, meaning Republican votes would be needed to pass it, and on Friday an $800 million borrowing bill failed to reach that bar in the House.

But as time ticked away, Republicans and Democrats had yet to come to any compromise.

“We don’t want to do a bonding bill so if you want us to do one, what’s the deal? Is there a deal? Is there something we can talk about that we would want?” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. “It depends on what else would be part of that agreement.”

Bakk said lawmakers may try to cobble together a measure to spend about $300 million, which would include about $109 million to restore the ailing state Capitol, some flood mitigation projects and a few other items.

The Capitol springs a leak

The Capitol springs a leak

 

 

On Sunday, Republicans began conversations about what it would take to get that done.

"If they would take child care unionization off the table, I think that would be something that would interest us or at least get a bonding bill in play," said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. "If they want a bonding bill more than we do, it only makes sense that we would get something in return for it."

At midnight Sunday, Daudt said that Democrats had not offered Republicans anything specific in exchange for a borrowing bill nor had they negotiated specifics of what a theoretical borrowing bill would look like.

As the idea of reviving a borrowing bill was awash in the Capitol, a newly fixed up area of the Capitol tunnel sprung a leak with water pouring from the ceiling, filling tub after tub.

The leak itself worked its way on the House floor, as Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, referenced the potential to fix up the Capitol and made mention of the newly soggy basement. He warned members who might be thinking of walking into the tunnel of the watery mess, "due to the current state of our Capitol."

Senate voting board busted

Senate voting board busted

 

Adding to crumble-gate late Sunday, the Senate's voting board stopped working. That forced the Senate to take an unplanned break from debate on an anti-bullying bill. Staffers said the problem was fixable.

 

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