From reporter Tim Nelson:

Lawmakers didn’t much like what they saw when took a closer look at how the roll-out of new electronic pull-tabs was proceeding.

Eight months after the games were legalized to pay the state’s share of the Vikings stadium, state officials concede they’re likely to miss even revised estimates of how well electronic pull-tabs will do financially.

A House Commerce committee meeting Wednesday night was called to examine the plan to pay for a new Vikings stadium. The situation has Minnesota lawmakers at the Capitol pondering backups for their backup plans.

Cont. reading…

"I said this new stadium would be a ‘People’s Stadium,’ not a ‘Rich People’s Stadium.’"

— Gov. Mark Dayton has written a letter to Minnesota Vikings owners saying that he is “greatly distressed” that the team is considering a plan to charge season ticket holders a fee that would help pay the team’s share of a new $975 million stadium. Dayton stressed that the private contribution is the team’s responsibility and not the responsibility of season ticket holders.

The Minnesota Gambling Control Board approved electronic pull-tab gambling this morning. A new iPad-based version of the tradtional pull-tab games could start today at bars and restaurants that run charitable gambling.
The gambling could start in as many as five locations overall by the end of the day. State officials say 2,800 bars and restaurants in Minnesota could be eligible for the games this year.
The state is expecting the games to bring in as much as $72 million in new revenue. That money will be used to pay the debt on the state’s share of a new $1 billion stadium being built for the Vikings in Minneapolis. The state has pledged about $350 million to the construction.
Read more about electronic pull tabs from reporter Tim Nelson

The Minnesota Gambling Control Board approved electronic pull-tab gambling this morning. A new iPad-based version of the tradtional pull-tab games could start today at bars and restaurants that run charitable gambling.

The gambling could start in as many as five locations overall by the end of the day. State officials say 2,800 bars and restaurants in Minnesota could be eligible for the games this year.

The state is expecting the games to bring in as much as $72 million in new revenue. That money will be used to pay the debt on the state’s share of a new $1 billion stadium being built for the Vikings in Minneapolis. The state has pledged about $350 million to the construction.

Read more about electronic pull tabs from reporter Tim Nelson

The Vikings stadium deal the team reached with the state and the city of Minneapolis gives the Vikings owners exclusive rights to a major league soccer franchise in Minneapolis for five years after the new stadium opens in 2016.
Minnesota fans worry that giving rights for a franchise to the Vikings owners might kill off pro soccer in the state.
The Stars, whose home field is at the National Sports Center in Blaine, are the latest iteration in 23 straight seasons of pro soccer in Minnesota. They succeed another Stars team that collapsed financially in 2010. Their parent league bailed out the Stars and now keeps it afloat, in part to keep an eight-franchise roster. That’s the minimum required by international soccer’s rules for pro soccer leagues.
Read more from reporter Tim Nelson.

The Vikings stadium deal the team reached with the state and the city of Minneapolis gives the Vikings owners exclusive rights to a major league soccer franchise in Minneapolis for five years after the new stadium opens in 2016.

Minnesota fans worry that giving rights for a franchise to the Vikings owners might kill off pro soccer in the state.

The Stars, whose home field is at the National Sports Center in Blaine, are the latest iteration in 23 straight seasons of pro soccer in Minnesota. They succeed another Stars team that collapsed financially in 2010. Their parent league bailed out the Stars and now keeps it afloat, in part to keep an eight-franchise roster. That’s the minimum required by international soccer’s rules for pro soccer leagues.

Read more from reporter Tim Nelson.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak drinks a beer offered from a Vikings fan after the Minneapolis City Council gave final approval today to a financing package that will build the Minnesota Vikings a new, taxpayer-subsidized, $1 billion stadium on the site of the Metrodome
Read more from reporter Tim Nelson.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak drinks a beer offered from a Vikings fan after the Minneapolis City Council gave final approval today to a financing package that will build the Minnesota Vikings a new, taxpayer-subsidized, $1 billion stadium on the site of the Metrodome

Read more from reporter Tim Nelson.

Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, greets Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, before today’s Senate session where the Vikings stadium bill passed 36-30. Dziedzic voted against the bill and Michel voted for it.
The bill will now head to Gov. Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign it. The bill guarantees the team’s future in the state for the next 30 years. The public expense will be high: $348 million for the state and $150 million for the city of Minneapolis.
Read more here.

Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, greets Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, before today’s Senate session where the Vikings stadium bill passed 36-30. Dziedzic voted against the bill and Michel voted for it.

The bill will now head to Gov. Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign it. The bill guarantees the team’s future in the state for the next 30 years. The public expense will be high: $348 million for the state and $150 million for the city of Minneapolis.

Read more here.

Why we fail the integrity test

From Bob Collins’ New Cut blog:

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, quoted in the Star Tribune: "We are making sure we have not had" enough people in the room to require a public meeting."

That’s a Minnesota senator seemingly proud in proclaiming that the spirit of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law was crushed as negotiations between legislators, Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Vikings, and other interested parties not named Minnesota Taxpayer took place in secrecy before a final bill was unveiled. How it came to be the final bill? Good question.

It was just two months ago that the Center for Public Integrity handed Minnesota a D+ because of this very situation, partly because the state doesn’t have a history of public corruption and hasn’t kept its clean-government laws up to date — like lowering the number of people in a room to require an open meeting, for example.

Maybe everybody got lucky and the legislation that emerged from the secret meetings early this morning was clean. But when the nice suits want the cone of silence lowered on what’s supposed to be an open process, there’s usually a reason.

It may well be that the stadium bill that the Senate will rubber stamp today was, in fact, the best possible deal the legislators and governor could make. We’ll never know because they don’t want us to.

Read the rest of Collins’ 5x8 post here.

Vikings fans invade the state Capitol as lawmakers debate the stadium bill (see more photos from Jeffrey Thompson).