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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published April 23 2012

Vikings stadium plan could be resurrected tonight in the Legislature

ST. PAUL - The Vikings stadium proposal that died in a committee meeting a week ago could get new life tonight.

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to debate proposals to allow charities that sponsor pull-tab games to use electronic devices. An amendment to be brought up tonight would put the stadium construction plan in that bill by Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove.

Kriesel’s bill was expected to provide money to repay construction costs, although he said he wanted to make the changes to improve charities’ profit, regardless of what happens with a stadium. Last week he said he could accept the stadium amendment.

The stadium lost in another House committee a week ago, but after Friday’s visit by the National Football League commissioner most lawmakers appeared to expect the provision to be resurrected.

If the Ways and Means Committee accepts the amendment tonight, the next stop could be the full House, although it could be sent to another committee first.

In the Senate, a bill to fund a new stadium passed in committee on Friday, but faces further hurdles before it can reach a full Senate vote. It is not clear when another Senate committee may consider the bill.

About 50 people, mostly wearing Vikings jerseys, rallied on the Capitol’s front steps this morning in an attempt to move the plan forward.

The Vikings, NFL officials, Gov. Mark Dayton and other stadium supporters say action needs to happen during this legislative session. Legislative leaders hope to adjourn for the year in a week.

While the Vikings and NFL leaders refuse to say the team will leave Minnesota if there is no new stadium, Dayton and other backers say the message is clear that is what can happen.

The Vikings want a $975 million stadium on the Minneapolis Metrodome site. The team and other private sources would add $427 milion, with Minneapolis adding $150 million.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.