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Stadium alcohol measure passes

  • May 16, 2010 - 12:21 AM

The Legislature overwhelmingly passed a compromise proposal Saturday to allow the University of Minnesota to serve alcohol in the new TCF Bank Stadium.

The move left the issue before Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Under the proposal, the university could permit alcohol in the stadium's premium seats provided that at least one-third of the general seating area also offered alcohol.

Seventy-five percent of the revenue from the alcohol sales would go to scholarships for undergraduate students from Minnesota whose families have an annual adjusted gross income of less than $100,000.

The policy would also apply to the hockey and basketball facilities.

University officials last year wanted to serve alcohol in only the premium seats at TCF Bank Stadium, but legislators and Pawlenty argued that alcohol should be available throughout the stadium, or not at all. School officials, reacting to that decision, decided to ban alcohol throughout the stadium, which opened last fall.

A university spokesman said administrators would consider the policy, but indicated the school was not enthusiastic about the plan.

MIKE KASZUBA

Pawlenty signs pension overhaul

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a major overhaul of public employee pension plans just before midnight Saturday, despite earlier signals that he'd veto the measure.

Pawlenty had also indicated he might use the pension bill as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations.

But just before midnight, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said the budget talks weren't linked to the pension overhaul.

The measure passed last week by a wide margin with substantial GOP support.

On Wednesday, Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung stated emphatically that the governor would veto the pension measure. But Pawlenty later said, "I'm going to hold it for a few days until we see how the negotiations go."

The overhaul calls for higher contributions from government employees and cities, counties and the state, and suspends or trims benefit increases for retirees.

It is projected to save $2.1 billion in pension obligations over five years.

PAT DOYLE

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