Vikings stadium bill on tight timeline

Minneapolis stadium rendering

The Vikings stadium bill still hasn't been introduced and key committee deadlines are approaching. But a bill supporter said it's still "quite possible" to get it all accomplished.

The chief House author for a Minnesota Vikings stadium bill outlined a road map Wednesday for approval at the State Capitol — setting up a tight and politically dicey timetable for a major piece of legislation.

Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said the bill probably won't be introduced until Monday, "unless something comes up that delays it." That is five days before the first deadline for proposals to pass through a committee.

The timing is critical because Republican leaders, who control the House and Senate, have talked about adjourning in late April.

Lanning acknowledged that many may be surprised the bill still hadn't been formally introduced, even though Gov. Mark Dayton, the city of Minneapolis and the Vikings announced a tentative agreement a week ago to build the $975 million stadium.

"It was natural for people to think that when [we had] this big announcement last Thursday, everything was all set to go and a deal was done," he said. "But, you know, we only had a framework. We had terms of agreement. We had a term sheet.

"We have to turn that into language across the board, and, yes, we've been working on language for months. But until you know what the final terms are, you can't finish that language," Lanning said.

He said that there is still time to win approval and that the proposal would likely move through four House committees. The plan would face a separate path in the Senate. The House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee will hear the proposal first. He said he thinks some legislators on the 22-member panel, chaired by Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, are "open and favorable" to the stadium proposal.

"I think it's still quite possible for us to do," he said of passing the stadium bill this spring. "Are we on a tight schedule? Absolutely.

"I think it's possible for us to get through a policy committee next week," he added. "Will we be able to meet committee deadlines the way we'd like to? That's yet to be determined."

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