House passes bill without Bell Museum funding

The bill is smaller than the bonding bill passed by the Senate in March.

The Minnesota House passed a $200 million bonding bill on Monday, far smaller than the SenateâÄôs $329 million package, but also lacking funding for some University of Minnesota projects. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, sponsored the bill, and said the various projects in the bill were âÄúshovel-readyâÄù meaning they would put people to work immediately. The bill passed by a vote of 93-40. The HouseâÄôs bill included $20 million for various repair or asset preservation projects across the University system and $3 million for a new solar testing laboratory in Morris, Minn. The bill does not have funding for a new Bell Museum of Natural History, a top legislative goal for the University this session. The Senate passed its version of the bonding bill on March 16. It included $35 million for University asset preservation projects and $24 million for the Bell Museum. Also included in the House bill was $67.9 million in funding for projects on Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) campuses. This includes $30 million for repair projects and funding for a variety of projects that, like the Bell Museum, were vetoed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty last year. The Senate bill included $90.2 million in funding for MnSCU. A conference committee of representatives and senators will now meet to hammer out differences between the two bills and then pass it along for Pawlenty to consider. -Devin Henry is a senior staff reporter.