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U of M booze ban repeal passes Minnesota Senate

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A bill that would allow the University of Minnesota to decide where and when people can buy booze at TCF Bank Stadium has cleared the state Senate. Next stop: the House, where its future is less certain.

SF3180, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas, calls for allowing the university to serve alcohol at the stadium, provided it obtains the right license, and as long as it agrees to fund a scholarship account with the proceeds.

Last year, the Legislature told the university it could have a liquor license for the brand new stadium only if it allowed sales to everyone, not just patrons in exclusive club boxes, after a populist outcry.

Pappas predicted that issue has blown over, and has been replaced with a sense that the Legislature needed to do something to help the university generate some revenue in the wake of state funding cutbacks.

Between lost sales, as well as lost revenue from potential corporate clients backing out of ticket deals because they couldn't serve their clients booze, the university was out more than $1 million last year because of the "all or nothing" rule, she said.

Here's Pappas speaking to the bill in March: