This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a rousing chorus of "Skol Vikings! Skol!" For all the hand-wringing (and not-so-deep analysis provided by yours truly and others), the Vikings' stadium bill passed with relative ease during the last week of the now-adjourned session and it will be signed by the Governor. Many decry why the process has to work this way when the bill passed with votes (although not many) to spare in both Houses after a considerable number of changes were made to the bill, including having the Vikings pony up another $50 million, to make it more palatable to some members.
Looking back, there was never much doubt, regardless of what some may say, that the job was going to get done on the stadium. I thought it may have waited until next year, given the Vikings' mid-session decision to extend their lease at the Metrodome by a year, but given the tenor of the election year and the uncertainty on other issues that lies ahead, it was probably wise to push it this session. And as crazy as it looked from the outside, this is the way it always seems to look when the stadium issue is being tackled. There's the Peter Principle and Parkinson's Law. Maybe there needs to be the Iron Law of Stadium Systems that says that no stadium bill can be passed unless it's in the wee hours of the morning after no less than 20 amendments are offered.
I'll be curious to see how this is spun, if it is indeed spun, during the campaign season. I haven't looked at the final roll call votes and I know that some members who voted for it swallowed hard before pushing the green button.
The biggest surprise to me is that the minority party DFLers pushed it through. There was a big push from the DFL Governor and labor interests to pass the stadium bill, but even with that, I was surprised that DFL leadership didn't insist on the Republicans putting up a majority of their caucus on the "yea" side of the ledger. Again, this could spring up during the campaign season as part of a DFL macro "the majority can't lead" charge against the Republicans, but I don't know if that will stick as it relates to the stadium. Again, the tea leaves on the stadium issue are always hard to read.
Tune into the blog at least weekly during the interim. It's going to be a very active interim with the campaigns and the various task forces and other legislative policy development efforts that will be going on.