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House panel gives state Capitol restoration plan new life

The House Ways and Means Committee has sent a $434 million borrowing bill to the House floor. It includes an amendment to spend more than $220 million to restore the state Capitol building. A separate restoration proposal failed by a single vote Thursday.
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The House Ways and Means Committee has sent a $434 million borrowing bill to the House floor. It includes an amendment to spend more than $220 million to restore the state Capitol building. A separate restoration proposal failed by a single vote Thursday.

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Plan to restore Capitol falls one vote short in House

Eighty representatives voted for the plan and fifty against. But because it involves borrowing $221 million, the bill needed 81 votes for approval. Some lawmakers hope Capitol repairs can be rolled into a larger package of construction projects. They say the cost of fixing the historic building will only go up if it is postponed.

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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.

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House lawmakers agreed to the changes made in the Senate Monday night and sent the measure to Gov. Mark Dayton. The borrowing proposal includes money for colleges and universities, infrastructure projects, flood prevention and renovations to the Capitol building.