There may not be a special legislative session for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, but there will be public hearings.
Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, who heads the influential Senate Taxes Committee, announced Wednesday she would hold two informational hearings on the Vikings stadium on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.
“We are holding these hearings to invite the public and interested parties to come and testify and offer their views. It is an issue that people are very passionate about,” Ortman said.
“Based on information provided to these committees, we will determine if there is a consensus for further action,” she added in a statement.
Details related to the hearings, according to Ortman, would be released at a later time.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, the lead Senate author of stadium legislation, hailed the announcement. "Senate Republican leadership has taken a bold and necessary step," she said. But Rosen added that "it is obvious that this issue will not have a simple solution or an easy consensus."
Gov. Mark Dayton also said he welcomed the hearings, calling them a "very positive step forward." Speaking to reporters after meeting with Arden Hills city officials Wednesday -- the Vikings want to build the stadium in Ramsey County's Arden Hills -- the governor said that "hopefully those hearings will present a clear picture, to at least the senators, as to what the options are and where to go from here."
House Republicans -- the party also holds a majority in the House -- have not announced any stadium hearings.
The Nov. 29 hearing would be a joint meeting of the Senate Taxes Committee and the Senate Local Government & Elections Committee. The Dec. 6 hearing would be a joint meeting of the Senate Taxes Committee and the Senate State Government Innovation & Veterans Committee.
The announcement comes as Dayton, who has pushed to resolve the Vikings stadium issue, acknowledged that a special legislative session to address the topic was now unlikely. The Legislature is scheduled to meet in regular session beginning Jan. 24.
The Vikings, who have played in the downtown Minneapolis Metrodome since 1982, want to build a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills. The project would be funded by $407 million from the team, with the remainder coming from undetermined public subsidies.