Minnesota's legislative leaders head back to work today at the State Capitol, with gavels expected to fall in both the House and Senate chambers at noon to start the 2012 legislative session.
Job creation, a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, the February fiscal forecast, and a number of capital projects to be included in the "bonding bill", are expected to be the main topics of debate this year.
In a preview of the session, Patch spoke to three legislators about their priorities, thoughts, and areas of concern for this year's session:
- State Sen. Dave Thompson (R-District 36) of Lakeville, . "I oppose public funding. I don’t believe that’s the proper role of government," he said.
- State Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-District 36A) of Farmington, , needs to pay back education. "... now that the money’s there, this gives us the opportunity to pay it back," he said.
- State Rep. Mary Liz Holberg(R-District 36A), of Lakeville, on Jan. 23, . She said "if the forecast should take a turn for the worse, then we’d have to do some (more) budget adjusting as well."
The Vikings stadium debate grew more heated on Jan. 24 when Gov. Mark Dayton, a stadium supporter, told the Vikings that the only viable site for a new stadium was where the Metrodome now sits. That site is not favored by the team.
The governor has also proposed a $775 million bonding bill, but that number is expected to dwindle as legislators get to work.