Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday Morning Confusion. I couldn't resist using the title of that old Bobby Goldsboro song to describe what is likely the situation over at the Capitol (or should I say Dome of Silence). Anyway, it appears from newspaper reports that not everything is quite done--especially on the state departments appropriations bill--and that may prevent the Governor from calling a special session on Monday. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

One thing that has been predictable and I'm sure the rhetoric will fly when the special session is the hubbub over the policy measures that are near and dear to many Republicans that will be absent from the final bills. Some of these policy measures will likely survive the negotiations, but my guess is many will be absent. Whether one agrees or disagrees with these measures, the disappointment is real and the complaints regarding their omission is understandable.

Stadium Deal Out. I know Zygi Wilf, in his quest for a stadium, has to use every opportunity to press his case, but I thought he showed about the same level of judgment as Brett Favre throwing into triple-coverage when he stated that "the time is now" for a stadium deal. As my mother drilled into my head countless times as a youngster (it took more than a few admonishments), "there's a time and a place for everything."

The time for a Vikings' stadium is not now. The Governor and Legislature have just come out of an historic deadlock and, believe me, the camel has as much straw as it can possibly carry.

In fairness to Wilf and company, it's hard to tell when the time will be right. After swimming in these hyper-partisan waters and taking a passel of very tough votes to pass the budget, my guess is most members of the newly-minted majority will want to steer clear of St. Paul until the 2012 session convenes. That clearly doesn't help the Vikings case and while fairness isn't a term often used to describe the plight of professional sports franchises, the team really is having a hard time getting an opportunity to make a clear, unemotional case as to why a stadium deal is in the state's best interests.

A complicating matter is that if a number of policy measures are forfeited by the Legislature in the current budget deal, what would prevent them from passing them all again during a special session, even if that session were convened with the sole intent of endorsing a stadium deal? Once the session is called, the Governor loses control of it. That's the risk of special sessions and one the Governor likely won't take unless he has full assurance from legislative leadership that the only matter before the legislative bodies will be the stadium.

Just something to watch as we move ahead after this special session ends.

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