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The office building and two adjacent parking lots were provided for out of last year's tax bill, a surprise inclusion that appeared with hours to spare.

The Capitol Note: Senate office building lawsuit dismissed

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk welcomed the judge's decision. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher.)

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk welcomed the judge’s decision. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher.)

1.) Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Marek has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new Senate office building, according to the Star Tribune. The lawsuit brought by former GOP state legislator Jim Knoblach had argued that the new facility, part of a $90 million construction project approved last year, could not be legally funded, as it violated the statute that each legislative bill must deal with only one subject which could be contained in its title. The office building and two adjacent parking lots were provided for out of last year’s tax bill, a surprise inclusion that appeared with hours to spare before the session’s adjournment. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk was pleased with Marek’s decision, calling it “an important step forward for the legislative building project.” The dismissal is likely not the last point of contention to be heard regarding the building, which has become a subject of derision among Republicans, and even some House Democrats.

2.) The Minnesota Vikings released details of their stadium pricing scheme on Friday, outlining a range of options that the team will use to pay for part of its contribution toward construction costs for the new stadium, the Pioneer Press reports. The most expensive personal seat licenses (PSLs) will cost fans $9,500, with an additional $400 per-game cost, while the cheapest PSL/ticket combination will run just $500 and $50 per-game for upper deck seating. About 80 percent of the seats in the new stadium will be attached to a one-time PSL fee, and the average price will be about $2,500, according to team officials.

3.) Lawmakers took in more than $1 million in off-session compensation claims during 2013, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin, which published an analysis of per diem and reimbursement claims filed after June 1 of that year. Despite the one-day special session last fall, more than half of the $281,000 worth of per diem expenditures was incurred for work unrelated to that session. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk received the most compensation of any single member of the Legislature, with $21,495 from June through December, most of which went toward housing and mileage reimbursements. Sen. Matt Schmit, DFL-Red Wing, totaled more than $14,000 in off-session compensation, more than $12,000 of it for expense paybacks. Schmit, a Senate freshman, said he was surprised to find himself “just as busy” in the interim as he had been the 2013 session.


  • Gov. Mark Dayton will undergo surgery on his ailing hip at the Rochester Mayo Clinic today. Dayton was originally planning to have the procedure last week, but postponed it to attend the memorial service for Joan Mondale, which was held over the weekend. Dayton’s mobility is expected to be limited for some time following the surgery.
  • A number of Republican gubernatorial candidates will be on hand for a debate in Bemidji Thursday night. Marty Seifert, Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, and Jeff Johnson have all confirmed, while Scott Honour‘s confirmation is still pending. The event will be held in Bansberg Hall on the Bemidji State University campus. Free admission, with voluntary donation to Bemidji State University College Republicans. More information here.
  • Sarah Erickson added four new clients to her lobbying stable last week, bringing her count up to four. FairVote MN and Friends of Como Zoo & Conservatory are among Erickson’s new registrations.
  • Journalist Katie Nelson is the newest member of the Capitol press corps, as she joins the Mesabi Daily News for a stint as its legislative correspondent. Nelson is a University of Minnesota alumnus, and last year earned a master’s from the same school. She wrote for the Minnesota Daily campus newspaper, and has freelanced for the Star Tribune and MinnPost.


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