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Sports on the agenda

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: March 12, 2014 - 4:58 PM

updated

Booze and baseball; football and taxes. Sports are on the agenda for lawmakers.

A House committee today to debate allowing later bar closing times during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. This afternoon, the governor and the leaders of the House and Senate talked about possible tax breaks during the Super Bowl in 2018, which Minnesota is wooing.

"I don't know the details," House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said before the meeting. He said he has some reservations about giving the tax breaks and wants to make sure they get close examination.

Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson said after the meeting that the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen "provided a very preliminary first look at the potential economic benefits of bringing the Super Bowl to Minnesota."

"No decisions or commitments were made during the meeting. The Governor and legislative leaders will continue their discussion on this issue in the coming weeks," Swenson said.

If Minnesota wins the Super Bowl four years from now, the Legislature may see a bill much like the one the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy will debate later today.

The measure up for votes today would permit Hennepin County to license bars to stay open late "only during the period from 12:00 p.m. on July 15, 1.132014, through 4:00 a.m. on July 16, 2014," the period of the 2014 Baseball All-Star Game.

The bill will be considered at a 4 p.m. hearing Wednesday.

It remains to be seen how many Minneapolis bars are interested in paying $2,500 to stay open a few extra hours on a warm July night.

Craig Wait, general manager of Kieran’s Irish Pub, paid for the license to stay open during the 2008 Republican National Convention, but found that most convention-goers gravitated to private events instead of local pubs.

“It ended up being not so beneficial,” Wait said. “Bars paid a lot of money for not a lot in return.”

Photo: Minneapolis' Lowbrow bar, which is plastered with baseball cards//source: Star Tribune file photo

Staff writer Jennifer Brooks contributed to this report

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