Legislature sends pared down bonding bill to Dayton

The Legislature is sending a pared down public works construction bill to Governor Dayton.

DFL legislative leaders cut a deal with their Republican counterparts to craft a $156 million bonding bill that continues the restoration of the state capitol, provides flood mitigation to northwest Minnesota and funds a Minneapolis Veterans Home.

Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, says the bill is the best option in a year when they typically don’t do public works projects.

“It is a bonding bill that takes care of the urgent needs of the state while providing some jobs, taking care of some of the infrastructure,” Ward said. “Taking care of the needs that we have in the state of Minnesota.”

Several Democrats complained that the bill doesn’t spend enough. Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, supported the bill but says he wished it spent more.

“I think it’s a fine bill,” Mariani said. “I’ve been a supporter of the Capitol. I absolutely agree with you that we cannot afford to lose this facility. This is a Minnesota gem. What concerns me is what’s not in this bill.”

The measure was scaled back after the House failed to get the needed votes to pass an $800 million bonding bill. The new bill overwhelmingly passed both the House and Senate.

A spokeswoman for Governor Dayton says he’ll sign the bill.