ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday he would call a special legislative session this fall for a vote on a Minnesota Vikings stadium bill, even if there's not a specific proposal tied to one of several possible sites.
The Democratic governor met behind closed doors with legislative leaders to discuss the team's bid for a new, partially taxpayer-funded stadium. Dayton set a Nov. 23 deadline for a special session, and said he would push the team, lawmakers and other interested groups to assemble a stadium bill that could get an up-or-down vote by the state's 201 legislators.
"I don't expect the outcome to be foreordained," Dayton said. And, he said he's willing to convene lawmakers even if a final proposal is not fully assembled; his only requirement to call the special session is that the four top legislative leaders agree to limit its agenda to the stadium issue only.
The Vikings have for years sought the state's help to build a replacement to the aging Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, which team officials have called no longer sufficiently profitable -- raising the specter the team could move to Los Angeles or another city seeking an NFL franchise. In recent months, the Vikings paired with Ramsey County Board members to push a plan to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills, a suburb north of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Dayton said he set the November deadline for a special session because he believes the stadium issue has its best chance to be resolved this year, away from election-year pressure likely to rear its head in the 2012 regular session.
Monday's meeting was the first of three Dayton scheduled for this week to talk about the stadium push. He's due to meet on Tuesday with National Football League officials and on Wednesday with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press