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Lawmakers gear up for stadium showdown Monday

12 hour debates in each chamber? It's a possibility on Monday, when the Minnesota House and Senate will both tackle the question of whether to spend nearly $400 million on a new Vikings stadium. Republicans have given up on their plan for a less expensive alternative.
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12 hour debates in each chamber? It's a possibility on Monday, when the Minnesota House and Senate will both tackle the question of whether to spend nearly $400 million on a new Vikings stadium. Republicans have given up on their plan for a less expensive alternative.

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House committee to take up stadium bill, but lawmakers skeptical it'll pass

State lawmakers are not exactly sanguine about the prospects for a new Vikings stadium. One House DFLer doubts Republicans will agree to raise the state money called for in the stadium package. A Republican Senator says he sees no momentum for a stadium now "but it tends to change on a daily basis."

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State Rep. John Kriesel, who is part of the Legislature's stadium working group, says "It's reaching a point where are almost forced to move on." Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem renewed his suggestion that lawmakers hold a special session to deal with a Vikings stadium. Meanwhile, talks involving the football team, Minneapolis, and the Dayton administration continue.

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The governor plans to spend his weekend persuading lawmakers to vote in favor of the stadium proposal next week. Gov. Mark Dayton told the Pioneer Press he predicts both chambers of the Legislature will approve the bill by a single vote. He said, "I've always thought it would pass by one vote."

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The debate over public funding for a new Vikings stadium will occupy center stage when the legislative session opens later this month. The Pioneer Press has a look at the lineup for this contest. Lawmakers Morrie Lanning and Julie Rosen are the quarterbacks, Vikings fans are the offensive line, and opponents of expanded gambling are the 350-pound nose tackle. Governor Mark Dayton? He's the referee.

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Governor Dayton will lead a public rally at the Capitol and may hold similar events elsewhere around the state. In addition, thousands of construction union members will lobby the Minneapolis city council to support a $975 million Vikings stadium in the city.

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The panel of lawmakers needs to quickly reach a compromise after the House and Senate approved differing stadium bills this week. Senators passed its version late Tuesday night after an 11-hour debate. Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley told Forum Communications it is time to “sit down and roll up our sleeves” to hammer out the details of a final bill.

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