In a busy meeting Friday, the City Council nixed a proposed travel ban to Indiana, approved another $24.5 million for Target Center improvements and ditched one sailboat from the city's logo.
The Indiana vote was the most surprising, since Mayor Betsy Hodges called for the ban on city-funded travel there two days ago on the basis of a new law some felt was discriminatory. City attorney Susan Segal said a recent amendment to that law makes it more palatable.
“It largely corrects the concerns and objections that have been raised nationally," Segal said. "There still is not affirmative protections in Indiana law, but that’s the situation that was [in place] before they passed the statute.”
Hodges the effort wasn't for naught, particularly since the pressure also led to change of a similar Arkansas law.
"What people around the country and what we're doing here is making a difference, not just in Indiana but in other states as well," Hodges said. "I think if you ask the governor of Arkansas whether it mattered that people protested what happened in Indiana, he would in an honest moment say yes it did make a difference."
The council voted 11-2 to approve adding another $24.5 million in city funds for the Target Center renovation, bringing the city's commitment to $74 million. The total project budget is now about $129 million.
Council members Lisa Bender and Andrew Johnson voted no. Bender said staff negotiated a good deal, but "I don’t support the underlying premise that this should be a priority for our public dollars.”
Without discussion, the council voted in favor of its new city logo featuring one -- versus the current two -- sailboat. Council members Kevin Reich and Andrew Johnson voted no.
Above: Former Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Mo Williams plays against the Indiana Pacers at the Target Center last December. (JEFF WHEELER)