$90M Senate office building faces lawsuit - KMSP-TV

$90M Senate office building lawsuit probes approval method

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A Wednesday hearing could halt the construction of a new $90 million Senate office building.

The Minnesota Senate Committee Approved the plans, but now it's facing a lawsuit championed by former Rep. Jim Knoblach who argues the legislation was included in a tax bill, which is not typically how state building projects are approved.

The lawsuit asserts the 2013 Omnibus Tax Bill unconstitutionally included provisions committing $3 million to the pre-design and design of the Senate offices and authorized the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration to enter into a long lease purchase agreement for the office building. The Department has already entered into design contracts.

A majority of Senate Democrats voted for the project but Republican committee members are against it, contending the building is expensive and unnecessary. Aside from the method of approval, there was no public hearing.

However, an official overseeing the project says if the project is shot down or delayed, people who work in the Capitol will have nowhere to work when it undergoes a restoration that's slated for completion in 2017.

A hearing will be held at the Ramsey County Courthouse at 9 a.m.

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