Nevermind yesterday’s thaw -- rising temperatures may be coinciding with rising tempers over office space at the new Capitol. Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Tom Bakk and House Speaker Kurt Daudt have been unable to come to an agreement on space allocation, and without that agreement the $273 million project could be delayed because the builder won’t know how to proceed. That in turn could add to costs.
No one comes out of this looking very good. New GOP Speaker Daudt probably did himself a favor by not showing up at the Capitol Preservation Commission meeting and then releasing a statement that was optimistic on a deal while promising to fight for more space for public areas at the new Capitol.
The commission meeting had the feel of a family holiday dinner with a hostile subtext, except no one would spell out exactly what the problem was that needed to be resolved. Very Minnesota.
Senate Republicans used the stalemate to remind everyone after the meeting about the new Senate office building, which they again called an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money.
Dayton and Bakk both expressed confidence that a deal is close at hand. So, perhaps much ado about nothing. And inside baseball, to be sure, until those costs start rising. Then the public will start to care.
There was more discussion at the meeting about the 2016 session. Senate Minority Leader David Hann reiterated his belief that they should go without one (not making friends with contract lobbyists!) while Bakk revealed that legislative leaders have been exploring the possibility of moving the Legislature offsite. (During the next phase of construction, in 2016, they will only have access to the House chamber.)
Bakk said no one in St. Paul is real eager to rent space to the Legislature. (Fill in your own joke here about how the tenants are unruly and occasionally deadbeats.)
Saw some Twitter chatter about this, with the folks at MinnPost suggesting the old Macy’s building downtown. I’m thinking Mears Park would be nice. I could listen to the hearings and floor sessions from my window. Plus, easy access to the Bulldog. The new Saints’ stadium? (Seems like holding the session outdoors would force a quicker session.) We’re open to suggestions.
The BCA has shelved a gun permit application whose questions were viewed as too intrusive, reports my colleague Abby Simons.
When the updated 2015 Minnesota Uniform Firearm Application Permits went out to law enforcement agencies last week, gun rights advocates quickly cried foul over a questionnaire that asked, among other things, if applicants had served in the military, used drugs or ever fled the state to avoid prosecution. Advocates said the questions violated applicants’ privacy and created a needless hurdle to exercising Second Amendment rights to bear arms.
Rep. Tony Cornish was instrumental in getting it dialed back.
MPR finds resistance to the Senate DFL plan for free community and vocational college from Republicans, as well as University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.
To the East...Wisconsin Dems look longingly at Minnesota.
Today: House Education Innovation Policy, House Environment, Senate Finance, Senate E-12, Ag committees, House Government Operations and Elections, House HHS Finance, etc.
House and Senate are in session. House expected to take up tax conformity, which will align Minnesota and federal tax code to give people breaks. Schedule.
The Legacy Amendment is five years old. A symposium in Brooklyn Park will mark the occasion this afternoon.
AP: Obama to push for paid sick leave.
Lot of chatter that with Romney and Bush in, Gov. Christie seems like the odd man out. He tries to calm supporters, says The Times
Politico: While Obama was fighting ISIS, al-Qaida may have been re-grouping in Yemen, which led to Paris.
Politico: Quick Romney backlash
Finally, there’s more to life than politics: The fine National Book Award winning author Robert Stone (“Dog Soldiers”) is dead. Part of his book “Bay of Souls” takes place in Minnesota, though the work is not thought of as one of his better ones. A remembrance in The Times.
Here’s the story “Helping,” one of unsettling menace.
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