- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It takes easing up on a few laws to bring big-time sporting events to the Twin Cities, and Minnesota legislators are relaxing statutes where they can to make that happen.

One bill considered Wednesday afternoon by a House commerce and consumer committee would allow Hennepin County establishments that sell alcohol to stay open an extra two hours during two special July nights.

One for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby on Monday, July 14, and one for the All-Star Game itself, on Tuesday, July 15.

That exception is just one sports-related accommodation lawmakers have before them.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders also met privately Wednesday to talk about tax changes that could be needed to land the Super Bowl. And a state representative has proposed a bill benefiting a professional golf foundation to coincide with the 2016 Ryder Cup to be held in Minnesota.

Permits to keep the taps flowing and the liquor pouring past 2 a.m. would cost a maximum of $2,500, according to the bill by Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights.

But Atkins emphasized that he talked to Gene Ranieri, the Minneapolis government relations director, about the possibility “whether there would be a charge at all.”

As for the Super Bowl, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has said previously that the NFL expects cities that host the championship game to exempt player salaries from the income tax and lift taxes on game tickets. The state has a Super Bowl ticket exemption on the books from the 1991 game in Minneapolis.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he needs to be convinced the state is getting a good deal in terms of “the economic benefits of bringing the Super Bowl versus the cost of doing these tax breaks.”

Matt Swenson, Dayton’s press secretary, said no decisions or commitments were made during the Super Bowl meeting.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman, “provided a very preliminary first look at the potential economic benefits of bringing the Super Bowl to Minnesota,” Swenson said.

The league will name the Super Bowl city in May. Minneapolis is a finalist.

Finally, a bill sponsored by authored by Rep. Gene Pelowski Jr., DFL-Winona, would create special Minnesota Section PGA Foundation license plates to coincide with the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

The plates would cost $10 a set and include a minimum annual contribution of $30 to the golf foundation.