Archived Story

House panel approves cheaper Senate buildin

Published 1:50pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

ST. PAUL  — A House committee on Friday approved a planned Senate office building that would cost some $13 million less than an earlier design, despite Republican complaints of improper process.

The tweaked design shaves the cost from the original $90 million estimate by delaying one parking lot, making another user-financed and halving the number of conference rooms. It also would house all 67 senators, up from 44 in the earlier design.

The House Rules Committee advanced the project after 3 1/2 hours of contentious debate. Democrats control the House and hold a majority on the committee, and the vote fell mostly along party lines 14-13.

The planned Senate building is part of a much broader $273 million project to renovate the Capitol. While the overall renovation has bipartisan support, Republicans have seized on the Senate building as a wasteful and unnecessary use of taxmoney. Democrats have said the renovation will displace offices and hearing rooms for good and the space is necessary, but some, including Gov. Mark Dayton, have said it should be scaled back.

During Friday’s debate, Republicans also accused Democrats of sidestepping standard legislative procedure to approve the building plan last year.

 

ST. PAUL (AP) — A House committee on Friday approved a planned Senate office building that would cost some $13 million less than an earlier design, despite Republican complaints of improper process.

The tweaked design shaves the cost from the original $90 million estimate by delaying one parking lot, making another user-financed and halving the number of conference rooms. It also would house all 67 senators, up from 44 in the earlier design.

The House Rules Committee advanced the project after 3 1/2 hours of contentious debate. Democrats control the House and hold a majority on the committee, and the vote fell mostly along party lines 14-13.

The planned Senate building is part of a much broader $273 million project to renovate the Capitol. While the overall renovation has bipartisan support, Republicans have seized on the Senate building as a wasteful and unnecessary use of taxmoney. Democrats have said the renovation will displace offices and hearing rooms for good and the space is necessary, but some, including Gov. Mark Dayton, have said it should be scaled back.

During Friday’s debate, Republicans also accused Democrats of sidestepping standard legislative procedure to approve the building plan last year.