After criticism, House Speaker clarifies use of extra Capitol renovation money

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Minnesota's Speaker of the House is clarifying that an additional $2 million he sought for State Capitol renovations can be spent wherever it's needed, and is not earmarked for enhancements to legislative leaders' offices.

Republican Kurt Daudt has been criticized for trying to steer the money toward enhancements to areas of Capitol used by legislative caucuses, the Star Tribune reports, but Daudt said Monday the funds are available to cover any unforeseen costs in the $310 million renovation project.

WCCO says Department of Administration documents show potential uses of the money under discussion include better furniture in Capitol hearing rooms, refinished floors in areas used by legislative leaders, and a $10,000 custom-made door onto an area reserved for lawmakers of the House majority party (currently the GOP).

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Reports that Republicans were pushing for the money to be spent on a $10,000 door and other furniture upgrades led the DFL party chair to call such a move hypocrisy, WCCO reports.

Republicans made a campaign issue of DFL support for a $90 million Senate office building now under construction behind the Capitol.

Daudt told the Pioneer Press earlier conversations had left him under the impression the custom-made door could be added at no extra cost, but he said he does not support spending $10,000 on it.

The newspaper says tension over the use of the additional renovation money was evident during Monday's meeting of the committee overseeing the project.

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