What was thought to be a potential preliminary funding source for the ailing Vikings stadium proposal looks to be in limbo, its House author said on Wednesday.
Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said on Wednesday that a bill he’s sponsored that would allow for electronic bingo and pull tabs as well as other gambling wouldn’t contain any Vikings stadium provisions right now. It was originally intended to be the funding source for the stadium, which failed to pass from a committee on Monday night.
Kriesel and DFL Rep. Joe Atkins two weeks ago discussed the possibility of using money from the bill for a reserve fund that would go toward a future Vikings stadium. It would have been used as a placeholder and a catalyst for pre-planning while the rest of the stadium’s provisions were worked out.
It also appeared to be a great option for stadium supporters after the chief legislation stalled in a different committee this week, making its passage this session unlikely.
But Kriesel said on Wednesday that he’ll oppose any Vikings-related amendments to his bill, which will be heard in the House Taxes Committee tonight. He stressed that his legislation is simply aimed at helping charitable gaming.
“I think the wounds are still open from the Vikings stadium. I think everyone needs to step back, take a deep breath. I want to get this out of its committee tomorrow clean,” Kriesel said. “Right now the stadium situation looks dire and the last thing I want to do is kill this charities bill because we attached a bleeding-to-death Vikings bill on there, and that’s the bottom line.”
Kriesel said he also told Rep. Morrie Lanning, the House author of the Vikings stadium legislation, that he didn’t want any Vikings amendments on the bill. Lanning said he isn’t sure if he’ll attend the hearing.
Atkins was reluctant to speak openly about the discussion he had with Kriesel on the potential for an alternative plan for the stadium.
“I support his bill with or without a stadium provision in it,” he said, looking chagrined. “All I know is what was said in the Commerce Committee,” referring to Kriesel’s proposal as a “Plan B” for a stadium.
Kriesel said he’s confident his bill will pass without any major amendments. But, when asked if he saw any surprises coming, Kriesel replied, “Then they wouldn’t be a surprise, right?”