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Minnesota House rejects $800M bonding bill

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Falling five votes short of the super-majority needed to pass the measure, an $800 million bonding bill was rejected by the Minnesota House Friday afternoon, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports.

The House voted 76-56 to approve the bill, but to pass the bonding measure, 81 votes were needed.

Among the projects included in the bill were $103 million in renovations for the University of Minnesota, and $109 in renovations for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems. The bill also included projects for everything from road, bridge and sewers to parks and museums.

Gov. Mark Dayton had originally proposed a bonding bill of $750 million, but House leaders upped that amount to $800 million.

According to the Star Tribune, only three Republicans -- Reps. Mark Uglem of Champlin, Chris Swedzinski of Ghent, and Tama Theis of St. Cloud -- voted in the majority.

House Capital Investment Committee chairwoman Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), called the defeat of the bill "tragic."

Hausman told the Star Tribune that she had commitments from at least eight Republicans who promised to vote in favor of the bill.

As for trying to push for bring the bill back for another vote before the session ends Monday, Hausman seemed doubtful.

"We have been trying for months to solidify the votes. So overnight, nothing's going to change," she told the paper.

House Republicans, on the other hand, said they rejected the bill because it was too big.

House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) noted that time was running out "and we shouldn't be distracted with borrowing huge amounts of money right now on the state's credit card."

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Dayton signs $496M bonding bill

Gov. Mark Dayton signed a $496 million bonding bill Friday that will result in thousands of construction jobs in Minnesota and includes a long list of public works projects, the DFL governor said. Projects include college campus buildings, flood mitigation, roads and bridges and a $44 million start on the renovation of the State Capitol building.

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The borrowing plan, approved by a 45-22 vote Monday night, would use $496 million for public works projects, higher education and state Capitol renovations. It also calls to spend an additional $50 million on unnamed Department of Employment and Economic Development projects. House lawmakers approved a similar measure early Monday afternoon. They can either accept the Senate version or the differences will be negotiated in a conference committee.

So far, no sign that divided lawmakers can pass a bonding bill

Capital Investment Chairman Larry Howes says he can't get drum up enough Republican support to pass the $500 million Senate plan and he can't get the Democratic votes to pass the House's $280 million plan. And the majority Republicans can't do it alone.