Legislature approves $1.1 billion in construction projects, prepares to head home

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Minnesota state lawmakers finished up their work Friday a few days before Monday's Constitutionally-mandated adjournment date.

The House in the hours before dawn Friday approved more than $1 billion in spending to pay for capital improvement projects all over the state. The Senate also approved the measure.

The measure now heads to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

Money for the projects came in two chunks: $846 million in state borrowing, and an additional $200 million in cash. The Senate approved the bonding portion by a vote of 47-17 and the cash portion by a vote of 44-19, both with bipartisan support, The Star Tribune reports.

Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester heaped particular praise on the bill for funding civic center projects around the state.

"Finally, at least, civic centers in three major regional centers across Minnesota will be completed," Senjem told the Star Tribune.

House lawmakers actually approved two bills, one authorizing state borrowing for $846 million worth of capital improvement projects, plus legislation that shakes free $198.7 million from the state’s budget surplus for more projects, according to the House.

Check out a list of projects here.

Among them:

– $126 million for Capitol building renovations

– $57 million for University of Minnesota Tate laboratory improvements

– $56.3 million for remodeling work at the Minnesota State Security Hospital in St. Peter

– $33 million for local bridge work, and $54 million for local road work.

The measure also includes funding for metro transit and trail improvements, and money for the Nicollet Mall, and the Minnesota Zoo projects.

Also on Friday lawmakers approved state regulations for electronic cigarettes, the Star Tribune reports.

KSTP reports on the approval of a bill that would end the Minnesota Lottery's online versions of scratch-off games and sales of lottery tickets at gas pumps and teller machines.

The Legislature was nearly unanimous in passing $103 million worth of property tax cuts, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.

All of those measures are headed to Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

And so is one of the 2014 session's most contentious pieces of legislation, a medical marijuana bill that lawmakers approved Friday evening.

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