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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Senate Republicans irked over parking snub, latest snafu over Capitol space

Senate Republicans and their staff will be locked out of a Capitol parking ramp starting Saturday, the latest flashpoint between the GOP caucus and Senate Democrats who have traded jabs over the new Minnesota Senate Building. 

A GOP Senate spokesman confirmed that the decision was communicated to them this week and said it came at the direction of Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. 

Senate Republicans have sparred with their DFL counterparts over the new Senate Building, a $90-million building that opened last month. They have chosen to spurn the new building, staying put in their current State Office Building space, where they also park in an access-controlled ramp.

Republicans have also decried the use of Senate funds to defray parking costs for staff at the Minnesota Senate Building, arguing that DFLers had originally promised the ramp would be paid for entirely through user fees.

Senate Democrats have contended the ramp will still be user-financed and said that Republicans' decision to stay in their current office space will create logistical problems.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates. 

VP Joe Biden to stop in St. Paul next week in tour promoting stimulus act

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden will make a swing through St. Paul in a three-city tour promoting the seven-year anniversary of the American Recovery Re-Investment Act.

His office confirmed early Friday Biden will touch down next Thursday in St. Paul, visiting Union Depot. The vice president will also visit New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn. 

From Biden's office: 

"On Thursday, the Vice President will visit the Union Depot Multi-Modal Transit and Transportation Hub ... This project was given a $35 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant and will provide an efficient, sustainable and expandable rail and transit hub in the heart of downtown St. Paul."

Obama signed the Recovery Act, commonly called the stimulus package, on Feb. 17, 2009. Minnesota received more than $4 billion of the $787 billion package that was meant to help repair the U.S. economy after the housing market collapsed in 2008.

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