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Continued: The art of a bonding bill, for a legislative minority

  • Article by: LORI STURDEVANT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 21, 2014 - 7:16 PM

Bishop is a huge booster of a bigger Mayo Civic Center, but he understands legislative difficulties. He voiced sympathy for Senjem’s troubles two years ago. “I can understand that as majority leader, he didn’t want to appear to be bringing home the bacon to his own district,” Bishop said.

Senjem should have more freedom to maneuver on this year’s bonding conference committee, Bishop agreed, especially since only two Republican votes — Senjem’s and one other — are needed for a bonding bill to clear the Senate floor. It may be a better position from which to strike a bargain that benefits downtown Rochester.

But Senjem may have a bigger bargain in mind — or so I gathered when I spoke with him last week. DFLers “want bonding more than our side does, philosophically,” he observed. “What’s really important to us is getting rid of the business-to-business sales taxes they passed last year. There ought to be some opportunity for negotiation there.”

Tax cuts for a bonding bill — is that the deal he wants to strike? Or will the renovation of the Mayo Civic Center be sufficient to win Senjem’s vote for a bonding bill? When Bishop’s book is out, I expect one of his precepts will be “Don’t negotiate in the newspaper.”


Lori Sturdevant, an editorial writer and columnist, is at

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