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Forum News Service, Published February 07 2014

Minnesota judge dismisses suit seeking to halt state Senate building work

ST. PAUL - A district court judge tossed out a lawsuit seeking to halt progress on a state Senate office building, in effect tossing the issue back to politicians.

Ramsey County Judge Lezlie Marek ruled Friday that the suit brought by former state Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, should be dismissed. While Knoblach argued that the law authorizing a $63 million Senate building and a $27 million parking ramp violated the state constitution’s rule that only one subject be included in any law, the judge said the construction projects and other parts of the bill are linked.

The bill containing the projects also dealt with several tax issues. Knoblach and others, especially Republicans, said the Senate project should have been included in a separate bill dealing with construction projects.

The office building and parking ramp need one more approval before construction begins. The House Rules Committee must approve it, but leaders in that body are looking for less expensive ways to provide new office and parking space.