Lawmakers scrambling to resurrect bonding bill after defeat in House

- House republicans could not get enough votes to pass their $800 million dollar bonding bill on Thursday.  It needed a super majority of 81 votes, but in the end only 64 lawmakers supported it.

But it is not dead for the session.

Senate Capital Investment Chairman, Sen. LeRoy Stumpf said an already named conference committee will resurrect last year’s bonding bill and insert portions of this year’s proposals from Governor Dayton, the Senate, and the House.  They’ll have until midnight on Sunday to negotiate an agreement and get it passed.

In a statement Stumpf said, “I believe there are many areas of agreement between us, and I look forward to finding common ground in order to help create jobs and get critical projects across the state the funding they need.”

Prior to Thursday’s vote, House democrats criticized the House plan as it was heavily stacked with projects in republican districts.  Republicans insisted that it was balanced and spent money on crucial road construction projects.

But Representative Alice Hausman, the DFL lead on the Capital Investment Committee, said the road construction projects are not normally funded in the bonding bill.

“And because it was used to solve transportation problems, everything else either got shorted or zeroed out entirely,” Hausman said.

Housing advocates were also concerned that the bill provided no money for to expand affordable housing across the state and pay for badly needed repairs to aging housing projects.

“It’s easy to look at this in the bonding bill as a single line item that looks pretty big, but it is about those 50 projects that are scattered around almost as many communities around the state,” said Mary Tingerthal of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.

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