ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Arne Carlson scheduled a special legislative session for Monday to consider a bill to help Warroad-based Marvin Windows and Doors and a $12 million package for some of the state’s poorer residents.
If Marvin Windows were to get into serious financial trouble, it could put northwestern Minnesota into an economic depression, Carlson said.
“It’s a very dire situation,” he said.
Not everyone was pleased with the decision to call a special session or with the agenda. A key Republican groused that the Legislature was going to spend more money.
Some DFLers said it wasn’t enough. Others were less than thrilled with the help for Marvin Windows.
Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, DFL-Erskine, said he “wholeheartedly” agreed with the plan for a quick, short special session and the issues. If there is any trouble, he predicted it would be in the House.
House Assistant Minority Leader Charlie Weaver, R-Anoka, didn’t like being called back to the Capitol about a week after the regular session ended.
“I figured it would take more than a week for the spending addicts to need another fix,” Weaver said.
DFL Reps. Irv Anderson of International Falls and Thomas Bakk of Cook say they want more financial information from Marvin Windows before making a decision.
The two also plan to ask Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III for a ruling on whether it’s permissible to pass legislation that could affect a pending lawsuit.
Other DFLers will push for more money for early childhood and housing programs that were vetoed in the regular session.
“I think we just need to keep talking,” said Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis. Clark and other DFLers were expected to negotiate on the $12 million package, at least until the beginning of the special session.
She was among a couple dozen DFLers who said the Legislature should spend another $56 million on the programs. But she was unwilling to say she would vote against the Marvin Windows bill if she didn’t get more money.
The Marvin Windows issue came up late in the regular session and fell in the final hours.
The bill to be considered is intended to help Marvin Windows in a pending lawsuit. The goal would be to clarify state law so businesses can sue other businesses for fraud in disputed transactions under Minnesota’s Uniform Commercial Code.
Marvin Windows sued the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. four years ago for breach of contract and fraud, alleging that it sold a defective wood preservative from 1985 to 1989. The product was used in Marvin Windows and Doors, some of which allegedly are rotting.
Marvin Windows has replaced the windows for consumers at great cost.
PPG has denied the allegations and some of Marvin’s claims have been dismissed by a federal court.
If the Legislature fails to pass a bill, Marvin’s claims could all be thrown out. A new law could help, but would not necessarily guarantee the case will advance, said Sen. Leroy Stumpf whose district includes Marvin Windows.