Senate committee backs controversial building plan

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota Senate committee has approved preliminary plans for a new legislative office building despite attempts by Republicans to delay its construction.

The planned building for senators and staff next to the Capitol is projected to cost $63 million, plus $27 million for adjacent parking facilities. The Senate Rules Committee backed those plans Wednesday on a party-line vote, with majority Democrats in favor.

Lawmakers initially authorized its construction last spring. But Republicans now say Democrats did so without proper scrutiny, and say it should be delayed at least until a court hearing next week on a legal challenge.

Backers say the additional room is needed for senators and staff, many soon to be displaced by a Capitol building renovation.

The House Rules Committee also must sign off on the building.

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