Twins stadium passes conference committee

Proponents of a new Minnesota Twins stadium received another significant boost this morning when the House-Senate conference committee agreed on a voice vote to legislation that overwhelmingly favors the version passed by the House earlier this month.

The stadium bill that will appear for a final floor vote before the House and the Senate before the Legislature adjourns on Monday does not contain a roof, nor a referendum, nor, most significantly, a statewide sales tax to fund transportation and new ballparks for both the Twins and the Vikings. Senate conference committee chair Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins) essentially threw in the towel this morning by agreeing merely to have the committee recommend to the House-Senate transportation conference committee that the sales tax for transportation be considered as part of their bill. Without any quid pro quo, there is very little likelihood that the conference committee on transportation will heed that recommendation.

The lone no vote on the stadium conference committee came from Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley), who said he supported the Twins stadium but felt it wrong to exclude funding in the bill for a Vikings stadium.

With the final bill coming so close to the original Twins stadium bill in the House, passage in the House is not expected to be a problem. The only remaining hurdle for Twins stadium proponents could be in the Senate, where some members who voted for the bill on the basis of its transportation funding component and the inclusion of a referendum, may now oppose it.

Meanwhile, a conference committee looking into funding for a new Gophers football stadium on campus, has not resolved their differences as of this morning.