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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Gov. Dayton proposes billion dollar bonding bill

ST. PAUL - Governor Dayton is proposing nearly a one-billion dollar bonding bill for state public works projects 

Bonding legislation is the main task of the 2014 Minnesota Legislature which convenes February 25th.  Dayton is asking for $37 million to expand Rochester's Mayo Civic Center, $14 million for an addition to the Mankato Civic Center and $11 million to upgrade the River's Edge Convention Center in Saint Cloud.  Those three communities have been requesting state assistance for a number of years.  Dayton's bonding proposal also includes $233 million dollars for repair, renovation and expansion of facilities at the U-of-M and state colleges and universities.  That includes $57 million dollars to renovate the Tate Science and Teaching Building at the U-of-M.  Dayton's bonding proposal also includes $126 million dollars to complete the restoration of the State Capitol building.


A compromise federal budget has been rolled out and a Minnesota lawmaker says ironing out differences between the House and Senate spending plans was no small task because the appropriations bill is massive.  U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) says the proposal was put before lawmakers just yesterday and it will take a bit of time to take it all in.  But Franken says so far as he goes through the plan, he's been pretty pleased.  Some highlights:  The budget restores the sequestered funding for the military and defense spending but leaves in place sequester cuts affecting social programs. Non-defense government agencies will receive a total of $492 billion.  SNAP, or food stamps, will receive 82 billion. The defense appropriations bill allocates 520 billion dollars for the Pentagon's baseline yearly budget.


A South Dakota man is dead after a head-on crash on icy Interstate 35 Tuesday night in southern Minnesota's Freeborn County.  The State Patrol says 20-year-old Steven Selvig of Platte was killed when he lost control of his car, crossed the median and collided with a truck.  The driver of the pickup wasn't hurt.  The accident report shows road conditions were icy. 


Authorities have identified a pedestrian struck and killed by a light-rail train Sunday in Minneapolis.  The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office says the victim is 62-year-old Michael Kwosek of Minneapolis.  This is the tenth fatal accident on the Hiawatha Light Rail Line since it opened in 2004.  Metro Transit Police are investigating.


Three departments responded to a Tuesday fire on the campus of St. John's University in Collegeville.  A spokesman says the blaze was reported just before 5:30 p.m. in the paint shop on the southwest part of campus.  The cause of the fire and damage estimates are not known.  One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.  The building was built in 1912 and was originally used as the campus laundry


Speculation is flying on who Governor Dayton will choose as his running mate, after Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon announced Tuesday she's not seeking re-election.  Hamline University political science Professor David Schultz predicts the governor will look for someone who is female and not from the Twin Cities -- maybe either from the Iron Range area again, or perhaps Mankato or Rochester.  Schultz says the shake-up may also be a good time for Minnesotans to debate whether the state even needs a lieutenant governor.