Senate Office Building
The Senate has passed a budget bill that funds state government and starts making payments on a new office building for state senators.
Minnesota lawmakers are caught in a dust-up over office space at the State Capitol, and it’s threatening to delay the massive Capitol restoration now underway. The three-year, $272 million project is on time and on budget. But the tenants in the new building — including the governor, the Senate, the House and the attorney general — cannot come to agreement over how much space they will control.
Minnesota voters gave Gov. Dayton a solid re-election victory. But unlike the last two years of Democratic dominance, Dayton’s fresh reality is a new Republican majority in the Minnesota House. “I’m proud to say that Democrats’ total control of state government in Minnesota is over,” said Rep. Kurt Daudt, the House minority leader. Exuberant Republicans will take back the House they lost just two years ago. That’s when they battled Gov. Dayton to a budget standoff, and a 17-day government shutdown — the longest in U.S. history.
A leading Republican candidate for governor says he would try to stop construction of a controversial Senate office building project near the Capitol if elected.
The state of Minnesota says it has sold $85.4 million in bonds to pay for a new Senate office building. Minnesota Management and Budget announced the bond sale Tuesday. State officials said earlier they would start on the four-story building near the Capitol within a few days of the sale.
Minnesota finance officials plan to sell $85.3 million in bonds next week to pay for construction of a Senate office building that has become a political flash point. The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget advertised the sale Tuesday and said it would be tentatively held on Aug. 5.
A former lawmaker suing to stop a new Senate office building must come up with an $11 million bond if he wants to press his case forward in the Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that the bond would protect the state from losses resulting from delays due to the litigation by former Rep. Jim Knoblach of St. Cloud. The state had asked for a higher bond while Knoblach’s attorney has said it could deter him from pressing the case.
Lawmakers will be less than a month from the mandatory session finish line when they return to the Capitol after Easter, but don’t be surprised if they make an earlier break for it. Much of the heavy lifting of the election-year session is done. Negotiators from the House, Senate and Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration forecast more ease than usual buttoning up remaining tax and budget bills.
Top Democrats in the State House Friday approved a scaled-back version of a major new office building next to the Capitol, dedicated to the Minnesota Senate. The building’s original design had a soaring glass front, with a fitness center and reflecting pool. The scaled back version is slightly more modest, but no less controversial.
This legislative session has stalled out with battles over a proposed $90 million Senate office building and a proposed minimum wage increase. But the battle is not between Republicans and Democrats – it’s the Democrats who are fighting amongst themselves. With Democrats controlling the Minnesota House and Senate as well as the governor’s office, it’s the Democrats who are battling with each other over key issues.
Five Republicans running for Minnesota governor are leaving no doubt they are united in their opposition to a planned Senate Office Building. The candidates held a joint news conference Thursday at the Capitol to showcase their distaste.
Legislative Republicans pressed Monday for a speedy resolution to a controversy over a proposed Senate office building, making clear they oppose its construction. Several GOP lawmakers said the state should make do with the space it has, and reconfigure Capitol renovation plans if necessary.