Let the negotiations commence

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If you have strong feelings about what should or should not be in this year’s bonding bill (Ordway expansion, Orchestra Hall renovation, sex offender treatment facilities, etc.), now is the time to contact the people who will be responsible for writing the final bill.

The group of Senators and Representatives who will meet over the coming weeks to hammer out a final version of HF 2700 (the final spreadsheet showing differences between the House and Senate bills and Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s request is here) are:

* Sen Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon and Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, who are the committee chairs and will be the ones who negotiate the deals.

* Sens. Ann Lynch, DFL-Rochester, Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, and Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, will represent the Senate side in the conference committee.

* Reps. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada, Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids, Jean Wagenius, DFL-Minneapolis and Larry Howes, R-Walker, will represent the House of Representatives.

Of course, the man with the veto pen is Pawlenty, so letting his office know how you feel about the bonding bill is also an important stop.

When the conference committee settles on a compromise bill, it will return to the House and the Senate for final passage before it goes to Pawlenty. Once it’s out of that committee, it can’t be changed, only voted up or down.