Office flap could slow Capitol renovation

Some state legislators are warning that an anticipated dust-up over office space could derail the latest effort to renovate the Minnesota Capitol building.

Lawmakers are moving closer to approving a major restoration project, which has been estimated to cost more than $200 million. But architects are also looking at whether some Capitol tenants, including the Senate majority, should be permanently moved to other buildings. During a meeting of the capitol preservation commission today, Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said it will be hard to convince his colleagues to move their offices.

“It’s going to take an awful lot of discussion, and it’s going to have to be a good idea,” Senjem said. “Because I think generally speaking, the majority party thinks for them at least being here works pretty well. It is a little parochial I will admit, but I think that’s just the way it is.”

Gov. Mark Dayton, whose office would be relocated at least temporarily, during the renovation, said lawmakers need to set aside their own personal preferences and self-interests for what’s in the greater good.

“This is about the people of Minnesota,” Dayton said.

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