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Vikings Stadium, Right-to-Work Bills Opposed by Mendota Heights Legislators

Hansen, Metzen echo concerns over whether electronic pull-tabs can foot the bill for a new stadium.

Neither of Mendota Heights’ legislators is impressed with the recent stadium legislation introduced at the Capitol.

SF2391, introduced by Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont) received a hearing with much fanfare last week, only to be set aside without a vote.

Bill proponents said the bill will create jobs, avoid using taxpayer dollars, and require investment by the Vikings franchise. 

The bill would allow electronic pull-tabs in the state to fund construction of a new $975 million stadium at the Metrodome site. Electronic pull-tabs raise $398 million dollars for the project under the bill. The city of Minneapolis would contribute $150 million to the stadium construction, and the Minnesota Vikings would pay in $427 million.

Rep. Rick Hansen (D- South St. Paul)   but was critical of the estimates for just how much electronic pull-tabs would bring in.

“I don’t believe the revenue projections from electronic pull-tabs are accurate,” said Hansen.

Sen. Jim Metzen (D-South St. Paul) is a supporter of funding a stadium through racino money, which would allow gambling at racetracks.

He too questions the electronic pull-tab numbers, and said he was concerned that the backup plan would tap into the general fund.  “I think that’s the message we’ve given the committee, to figure that out.”

The bill could be amended and brought back to committee. It's companion bill in the House awaits a hearing.

Right to Work

The “right-to-work” constitutional amendment authored by Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville) also received a hearing last week in the Senate. 

The bill would put a question on the ballot to ask voters whether to allow non-union workers in businesses where employees have unionized to not pay union dues.

The bill was redirected away from the jobs committee that Metzen sits on and was heard instead in the judicial committee, where it was advanced 7-6. 

“I don’t think they have the votes. We would have shot it down,” said Metzen.

Hansen said that union contracts benefit all workers, and it’s fair for them to pay the dues.

“I believe unions help raise the standard of living in the state,” said Hansen. “They’re not a deterrent.”

Redevelopment Incentive for Smith and Robert

Locally, Hansen successfully advanced a bill through committee that would establish a redevelopment (TIF) district along Smith Avenue and Robert Street in West St. Paul. Hansen said it’s one of the few TIF proposals being included in the omnibus tax bill. 

Sen. Jim Metzen

A list of all legislation authored by Sen. Jim Metzen this biennium is available on the Minnesota Legislature's website.

Rep. Rick Hansen

A list of all legislation authored by Rep. Rick Hansen this biennium is available on the Minnesota Legislature's website.

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