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Rep. Kim Norton wants to quit legislative stadium commission over leadership issue

The DFLer from Rochester says having two state Senate co-chairs undermines the joint House-Senate Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities.

State Rep. Kim Norton, a DFLer from Rochester, has submitted her resignation from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities over a leadership issue.

The joint state House and Senate commission has two co-chairs, both senators, and Norton says that’s not fair.

Norton told the Rochester Post-Bulletin that she’s asked House Speaker Paul Thissen to replace her on the commission and said: “Serving under the current railroaded leadership is not really of interest to me.”

The bipartisan commission is chaired by state Sens. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, and Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont. One House member, Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, sided with the senators on the panel on the leadership vote.

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The commission — made up of six state senators and six state House members, half from each party — was set up to “oversee the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority’s operating and capital budgets,” according to state statute, which also says:

“The legislature finds that continuous legislative review of the financial management of the authority is necessary to promote fiscal responsibility and good management, and strengthen the accountability of the authority.”

It’s a tough time for the legislative commission to be in disarray: The Sports Facilities Authority is overseeing the building of a new publicly funded Vikings stadium, but negotiations have stopped while the Authority investigates the Vikings’ owners finances, after a New Jersey judge accused the Wilf family of “bad faith and evil motive” in a real estate case.

The Rochester story says negotiations are under way behind the scenes to reach a compromise on the commission leadership question.