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Minnesota Senate Backs Alcohol In Premium Areas At UM Stadium

Legislation Would Allow School To Sell Alcohol
In Premium Seating Areas At TCF Bank Stadium

The Minnesota state Senate yesterday endorsed legislation that would allow the Univ. of Minnesota to "sell alcohol in premium seating areas" at TCF Bank Stadium, but "keep the rest of its campus football stadium dry," according to Dennis Lien of the ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS. The Senate "gave preliminary approval to a higher-education bill that repeals a law passed last year requiring liquor be served throughout TCF Bank Stadium if it's served anywhere." The move to "relax the all-or-nothing approach is expected to face a tougher test" in the state House, but "even if it falters there, the Senate's stance would keep the issue in play in an upcoming Senate-House conference committee." State Sen. Sandy Pappas, who supports the new legislation, said that she "offered the measure because the Legislature's actions are costing the university money at a time when lawmakers also are cutting $36[M] from its budget" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/21). In Minneapolis, Mike Kaszuba reports the Senate, before the final vote, "voted 41-20 to reject an amendment that would instead have made alcohol available throughout the stadium." Jim Erickson, a longtime lobbyist representing Friends of Gopher Sports, a "group of influential athletic boosters and lobbyists organized to make alcohol available to premium seat holders," said that "changes made to the proposal Tuesday actually made the legislation more likely to pass the House." Under the revised proposal, "half of the net revenue from alcohol sales to premium seat holders would go to reducing the student stadium fee now being assessed." Erickson: "I think that almost guarantees passage by the House" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/21).

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