ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The suburban city of Farmington is offering itself up as a temporary fill-in for the state Capitol.
With city officials and high school students at his side, State Rep. Pat Garofalo, a Farmington Republican, said his city would be perfect to host a possible special legislative session to address spring flooding damage.
June storms hit more than 50 of the state’s 87 counties, costing Minnesota more than $55 million for flood response and repairs. Gov. Mark Dayton requested federal disaster aid last week and raised the prospect of a special session to approve additional state funds for repairs.
Garofalo said the city’s high school has the space, technology and volunteers necessary to host 201 legislators. With the state Capitol in disarray due to renovations, the idea would ensure public access and save money at the same time, he said. Plus, it’d give lawmakers a chance to get out of the Twin Cities.
“I think it’d be a good thing for all legislators,” he said.
If a special session were called in Farmington, it’d likely be a first for Minnesota politics. The Legislative Reference Library found no evidence of any legislative sessions — regular or special — outside the Capitol walls since it opened in 1905.
Dayton press secretary Matt Swenson called Garofalo’s idea “an interesting one” in a statement, but said it’s still uncertain whether the governor will call a special session. He said the additional costs of hosting a session outside the Capitol would need to be considered.
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