Nothing can ever go completely smoothly when it comes to the Minnesota Vikings' stadium situation, and Wednesday afternoon in St. Paul proved to be no different.
The stadium legislation was heard today by the Senate Finance Committee, and debate went along as debates for these sorts of things usually do. Then, sort of out of nowhere, Senator Sean Nienow proposed an amendment to add a Racino component to the bill.
For the uninitiated. . .as I was until a few moments ago. . ."Racino" would put slot machines at Minnesota's two horse racing tracks, Canterbury Downs and Running Aces. This would immediately piss off the state's powerful Indian Gaming lobby, and there would likely be all sorts of litigation involved which would slow the process even further.
The racino amendment to the bill got voted in by a vote of 11-3, much to the dismay of Senator Julie Rosen, the main author of the bill in the Senate. Rosen said that the inclusion of the racino provision in the bill would kill it, and she was clearly not pleased when the vote was taken.
But, after everything was said and done, the Finance Committee took a roll call vote on the bill, and it passed by a 9-5 margin. One of the five that voted against it? Sean Nienow. . .after he managed to jam the racino amendment into the bill. Because of this, Nienow strikes me of something of a jackwagon. Seriously, like we talked about with the House committee that initially killed the stadium legislation. . .why would you amend something you're just going to vote against anyway?
So now, the bill moves on to its last Senate committee before it reaches the Senate floor, that being the Taxes Committee. Rosen says that the racino language will likely be removed from the bill by the Taxes Committee. . .they can do that sort of thing, after all. . .and that she still feels very good about the bill's chances of passing as a result of that.
I have not yet seen a date for the Taxes Committee to hear this legislation, but as soon as we see one, we'll pass it along to you.
We're still alive, ladies and gentlemen, and we can almost see the finish line from here. Just need to hope things keep on keeping on.