Because of State Capitol construction disruption, the State Office Building will be home to the bare-bones special session. Preparations are underway to squeeze the House and Senate inside two small hearing rooms. But those details are looming large.
Makeshift House and Senate chambers have been arranged for an impending special session. Now all state leaders need are final budget bills for lawmakers to vote on. House Speaker Kurt Daudt said Tuesday that a session this week is still a possibility as long as lingering issues with three budget bills and two other pieces of legislation can be addressed by Wednesday.
A major renovation of the state Capitol is threatening to run $30 million over budget, state officials advised lawmakers Friday. Documents released to a commission overseeing the overhaul show the extra costs stem from water damage repairs, security improvements and other costs. Those overruns would increase the total cost by about 10 percent, to more than $300 million.
A panel of top Minnesota officials is getting the latest details on the state Capitol’s grand makeover, including whether it’s on schedule and on budget. The Capitol Preservation Commission was meeting Wednesday to approve the final phase of construction. It’s still at least two years before the $273 million remodeling is complete.
Top Minnesota lawmakers have had early discussions about cramming more work into the next five months so they could skip a 2016 session amid a construction-ravaged Capitol. Senate Minority Leader David Hann raised the prospect Tuesday, and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk hasn’t ruled it out. Bakk acknowledged having preliminary talks with House Speaker Kurt Daudt about that option.
Minnesota lawmakers are returning to action in a session where they’ll have to navigate a new political dynamic and widespread Capitol construction. The five-month session starts at noon Tuesday. It’s when Republicans formally regain House control.
Just a month before the 2015 Minnesota Legislature begins, the Capitol is in chaos. But it’s not because of politics. The 109-year-old State Capitol building is in the middle of a massive renovation that will mean limited public access during the session.
Call it the mother of all fixer-uppers. If you’ve been watching the restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol recently, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The $272 million dollar renovation enters a major new phase this week, with most of the Capitol shut off from the public for the first time in its 109-year history.
A high-stakes gamble is shaping up over construction borrowing in the Minnesota House. Majority Democrats plan to put an $846 million public works plan up for a vote Thursday despite the lack of clear assurances enough Republican votes will be there. The bill requires 81 votes — 60 percent — to pass.
Gov. Mark Dayton says a forthcoming renovation to the Minnesota Capitol will no doubt inconvenience the public and the building’s tenants. In his words, Dayton the construction will be “miserable for you, for me, for everybody who needs to function here.”
Minnesota lawmakers are digging in for the final session push toward session adjournment.