The Vikings stadium bill emerged from more than eight hours of Minnesota House debate Monday in somewhat altered, slightly battered condition. But the fact that it emerged at all, with a solid 73-58 vote, represents a major achievement by the bipartisan coalition seeking to anchor NFL football in Minnesota.
The bill’s House co-sponsor, DFL Rep. Terry Morrow of St. Peter, wore a game face as Game Day wore on and 39 amendments were offered, 11 of them successfully. “We’re making the bill better,” Morrow said. “We’re in a position to get the Vikings to their final best offer.”
The amended House bill attempts to summon Vikings and NFL officials to negotiations one more time in a conference committee – provided the Senate succeeds Tuesday in passing its version of the bill. The House version seeks to extract an additional $105 million from the team in construction costs, add 10 more years to the Vikings’ lease, and increase the state’s share of the proceeds of any future sale of the team.
Lesser changes also were attached, giving more House members a chance to tell skeptical constituents that they improved the bill before voting for it.
The amendment that the pro-stadium coalition feared the most failed, for now. Backed by a bipartisan cohort of legislators who dislike any expansion of state-sanctioned gambling, the change would have replaced e-pulltabs as a stadium financing source with a tax on in-stadium purchases. It went down on a 57-74 vote, indicating that while resistance to gambling is not the majority view, it runs deep.