House hampers U liquor sales provision

The amendment that was voted down allowed the University of Minnesota to sell liquor in premium seating at its facilities.

by James Nord

The House of Representatives on Monday voted down an amendment to a higher education bill allowing the University of Minnesota to sell liquor in premium seating at its facilities. The Senate author said the provision, which was spurred by the prospect of selling liquor at TCF Bank Stadium, is unlikely to make it into the final bill both chambers will work to create. The provision passed in the Senate two weeks ago, but the House amendment, presented by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, faced strong opposition from representatives. If passed, it would have reversed the current all-or-nothing law that originated in the House last year. Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, the amendmentâÄôs most vocal opponent, channeled populist fervor into defeating the legislation. It failed 111 to 18. University officials have said it has no official stance on the measure. Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the amendment wonâÄôt pass the conference committee if RukavinaâÄôs mind canâÄôt be changed. She said she will propose the provision as early as Tuesday when the committee meets, but it is unlikely to gain support. Kahn, whose district includes parts of the University area, said that with state aid declining, the Legislature shouldnâÄôt rob the institution of any more money. She dismissed the ban as âÄúmisguided populism.âÄù âÄúYou donâÄôt have to have me tell you what the University is suffering at the hands of state government now in terms of dramatic cuts, dramatic decreases in funding,âÄù she said. But Rukavina dismissed the point. âÄúThe University of Minnesota can sell alcohol wherever they want; they just have to serve it to everybody,âÄù Rukavina said.