Minnesota House passes $1B bonding bill

The bill includes $77 million in University bonding projects.

Mackenzie Martin

The Minnesota House passed a $1.1 billion bonding bill Monday night with no changes made to its initial $77 million proposal for University of Minnesota bonding projects. The bill maintained that the University receive $40 million for building maintenance and repairs, $20 million in funding for the renovation of Folwell Hall, and the requested funding for an American Indian learning center in Duluth, a new Itasca biological research station and general campus-wide science lab renovations. The smallest of the three bonding proposals being discussed at the Capitol, the House bill does not include funding for a new physics and nanotechnology building at the University âÄî a project fully funded in Gov. Tim PawlentyâÄôs bill. The Senate included $5 million in planning money for the building in its bill. Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, proposed an amendment seeking to include full funding for the physics and nanotechnology building, saying the project is âÄúof statewide significance.âÄù Anderson said nanotechnology is âÄúa boat that we want to make sure we jump on and make sure Minnesota is a leader in.âÄù The amendment, which proposed cancelling state funding for a new planetarium to fund the facility, also called for more than $25 million to be added to the allotted $40 million in HEAPR funding in the bill. Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, the primary author of the House bonding bill, didnâÄôt support the amendment, saying higher education already makes up the largest portion of the bill. âÄúBecause this amendment âĦ takes from some and gives to others, I would encourage a âÄònoâÄô vote,âÄù Hausman said. The amendment was not adopted after a 50-82 vote. Last week, the Senate allotted the University $111.3 million in its version of the bonding bill. The governorâÄôs bill, proposed last month, includes $100 million for the UniversityâÄôs provisions. The House and Senate bonding bill proposals âÄî each totaling close to $1 billion âÄî will be discussed and combined into one before being presented to the governor in the coming weeks.