Players hit the CapitolTheir goal finally in sight, the Minnesota Vikings summoned star power Wednesday to put extra pressure on state lawmakers nearing decisive votes on public financing for a new pro football stadium.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Their goal finally in sight, the Minnesota Vikings summoned star power Wednesday to put extra pressure on state lawmakers nearing decisive votes on public financing for a new pro football stadium.
Running back Adrian Peterson, linebacker Chad Greenway and center John Sullivan lent aid to a franchise lobbying team of nine, which is counting heads for an expected House vote as soon as Thursday and guiding the bid for a nearly $1 billion stadium through its final Senate committees.
In a barely 30-minute visit, the players chatted with legislators and posed for pictures with Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
“It’s a team effort. We’re just showing our support,” Peterson said. “Legislators, those guys are really pushing to pass this bill. They have tough decisions to make and discussions to have. We’re just here to let these guys know that we support them.”
Meanwhile, the stadium bill continued to move closer to expected House and Senate floor votes. It survived the Senate’s Finance Committee on a vote of 9-5, but not without complications: The committee reshaped the proposal in a way that its chief author said would cost needed support.
The changes came in the form of an amendment to include state authorization of casinos at two Minnesota horse-racing tracks. That proposal is a longstanding and controversial issue at Minnesota’s Capitol, and sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen said linking it to the stadium could hurt her bill’s progress.
“I believe it’s a serious blow to the bill,” said Rosen, a Republican from Fairmont. She said she’d attempt to remove the racetrack casinos from the stadium bill when it comes before the Senate Taxes Committee in a scheduled Thursday hearing.
The House version of the stadium bill has cleared the committee process and awaits a not-yet-scheduled floor vote. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen predicted passage. He said he expected his Democratic caucus to put up votes in the “high 20s to low 30s,” leaving majority Republicans to make up the difference needed for a 68-vote minimum.