Why members of the House aren't going to be able to pee inside next session

The $300 million Capitol restoration project will run through 2017.

The $300 million Capitol restoration project will run through 2017.

Months to go before the state legislature reconvenes, murmurs of discontent are already sweeping through the House rank and file.

With the Capitol building in shambles and construction set to continue through 2017, the next legislative session will be notably devoid of indoor plumbing. Which means, of course, that members of the public, the House, their staff and lobbyists will have to wrap up and trod out into the snow for a port-o-potty every time they need to pee.

It’s all going to be terribly pitiful and heroic, but it is necessary? It’s not as if there are no other buildings with working bathrooms in the vicinity of the Capitol. In fact, there’s that brand new Senate office building standing directly behind it, where the Senate is already planning to move its chambers for the 2016 session. There’s room enough for the House as well.

House Republicans, however, are too proud to use the building. They’re still indignant that Democrats allocated $90 million to build it back in 2013, when they had the majority in both houses. Even now that the money’s gone and the building’s built, Republicans are standing doggedly against giving credence to the Senate office building by actually using its facilities.

Realistically, next session could turn into a bit of a shit show. House DFL leader Paul Thissen, in a politely worded letter, pleaded with GOP leadership to give up the spartan stunt.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” Thissen wrote. “While it may be too late to save taxpayer dollars given the amount of planning and preparation that has gone into forcing the House chamber to remain open next year … look again at other options for the 2016 legislative session that will at least provide the public with some measure of access to their elected representatives.”