- Associated Press - Monday, April 7, 2014
Minnesota Senate panel backs $77M Senate building

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A plan to construct a $77 million building to house Minnesota’s 67 state senators is moving forward after the Senate Rules Committee approved the proposal on Monday.

The project matches one that the House Rules Committee approved Friday by a single vote. It would cost $13 million less than the original proposal the Senate Rules Committee approved earlier this year.

Delaying one parking lot, making another user-financed and halving the number of conference rooms enabled state Department of Administration officials to cut the plan’s cost.

The proposed Senate building is part of a $273 million project to renovate the Capitol.

“I’d like to move the Capitol back to the appearance it had to the public in 1905; that’s what I’d like it to be,” Majority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, said after the hearing.


Twins open home season with temps in 50s

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Baseball fans will enjoy temperatures in the 50s when the Minnesota Twins open at home against Oakland.

That’s quite a contrast to the 10 inches of snow that fell at Target Field last week. And temperatures barely made it above freezing at last year’s home opener.

A couple of Twins greats, Tony Oliva and Kent Hrbek, will open the gates at 1 p.m. Monday.

The ceremonial first pitch will come from Barkhad Abdi, the actor nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Captain Phillips.”

And, the national anthem will be performed by local singer and actress Thomasina Petrus.


Man gets 41 years in bar owner’s fatal shooting

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 41 years in prison for fatally shooting a St. Paul bar owner over a $20 pool table fee.

Twenty-three-year-old Cheng Vang pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder for killing 45-year-old Vone Moua at Malina’s Sports Bar. Vang also shot and wounded two other men at the bar.

Vang returned to the bar early on June 9 after his brother-in-law, 27-year-old Yia Her, called him for help and asked him to bring a gun.

Her had paid $20 to use a pool table, but wasn’t able to get $20 worth of playing time in by the time the bar closed.

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1eaR2dH) reports Her was convicted by a jury in March for his role in Moua’s death and awaits sentencing.


Lawmakers reach deal to hike minimum wage to $9.50

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s minimum wage would rise to $9.50 per hour within a few years and continue going up unless a governor’s administration applied the brakes, according to terms of an agreement announced Monday.

The outline described by leaders of the House and Senate resolves one of the biggest remaining standoffs in a session on course for an early adjournment. The wage legislation could move through both Democratic-led chambers this week; it was scheduled for a Senate vote on Wednesday. Gov. Mark Dayton said he would sign the bill.

Legislators and Dayton are also pressing to complete a budget plan that gives extra dollars to schools extra, pothole repair money to local transportation departments and raises to caregivers for the disabled and elderly. A second tax relief package could also come together soon. A public works construction package still remains and will take center stage after Easter.

“This session is really starting to come together,” said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook. The session must conclude by May 19 but there is a serious push to finish sooner in this election year.

A bill to boost the minimum wage was considered a must-do item after an agreement eluded lawmakers a year ago. It would affect some 350,000 workers at or near the bottom of the pay scale.



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