For Rep. Kriesel, stadium vote and Vegas vacation plan could conflictRep. John Kriesel is betting – and hoping – that he can cast a ‘yes’ vote on a final Vikings stadium deal before boarding a Thursday morning flight to the gambling capital of Las Vegas.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Rep. John Kriesel is betting – and hoping – that he can cast a ‘yes’ vote on a final Vikings stadium deal before boarding a Thursday morning flight to the gambling capital of Las Vegas.
A chief proponent of a new professional football stadium, the Cottage Grove Republican said Wednesday morning that he is optimistic a House-Senate conference committee will reach agreement on a final stadium package and that lawmakers can vote on it before he plans to leave for a bachelor party vacation early Thursday.
Stadium supporters may need Kriesel’s support and every vote they can get in order to pass a final package financing a new stadium in Minneapolis. Previous stadium votes have been close; the House approved a stadium bill on Monday with only five more votes than are required.
After the Senate passed its bill late Tuesday, Kriesel said final negotiations are taking place behind the scenes. Lawmakers are meeting in session Wednesday, but the “legislative day” technically can continue until 7 a.m. Thursday.
Kriesel’s flight leaves at 8 a.m. He said he’ll have his bags packed and in his truck.
“If I have to drive from the Capitol to the airport without any sleep, that’s fine,” he said. “It’s just a warm-up for what Vegas is going to be anyway.”
Lawmakers must adjourn by May 21, but they had earlier planned to go home for the year by April 30. Kriesel said he had scheduled his trip for a couple of weeks after that April deadline. But the Legislature blew through that self-imposed deadline as lawmakers continued negotiating on a stadium deal and a couple of other key issues.
That turned an early vacation plan into a possible conflict with a high-profile vote.
“That’s the crappy thing about this job,” Kriesel said of planning a trip for after lawmakers were told they’d be done, only to see the session extended.
Some lawmakers say they don't make travel plans during or shortly after a legislative session because of its unpredictability.
If there is no vote before Thursday morning and it appears his vote is needed in the coming days, Kriesel said he would change his vacation plans but he would prefer not to because he organized the trip and reservations are made in his name.
Kriesel said there are many other lawmakers who already have plans away from the Capitol later this week as well, so if no deal is reached before Thursday it is possible the Legislature will adjourn and then return in several days.
This isn’t the first time Kriesel’s legislative work and vacation plans nearly conflicted.
Last year he booked a trip to Las Vegas in July – long after the regular legislative session ended – but lawmakers were called back to the Capitol to end a state government shutdown. They passed final bills hours before Kriesel's flight.
“It’s kind of worked out strange twice,” he said.