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After Deadline: All those for heated bathrooms say 'aye'

Portable toilets line an area under the steps at the Minnesota Capitol. Renovations of the building mean some inconveniences for lawmakers.

Turns out lawmakers, lobbyists and visitors to the Minnesota Capitol will be roughing it when it comes to using the bathrooms.

During a recent meeting with Olmsted County commissioners, Sen. Carla Nelson warned that the massive reconstruction project at the Capitol is going to be especially inconvenient. The massive Rotunda is closed and the number of Senate committee hearing rooms has been cut in half. But it gets worse.

"The new element that really caused me to think a little differently is most of the bathrooms are no longer functioning, and that wasn't even too concerning until I found out what the solution was and that is a trailer of Porta Potties is being brought in," Nelson said.

Nelson soon followed by tweeting a photo of the portable toilets under the steps in front of the Capitol writing, "Port-A-Potties arrive at the MN State Capitol in preparation for session in a major construction zone. Brr!"

Republican state Rep. Nick Zerwas responded to Nelson's tweet writing, "Oh, man … Port-A-Potties in Feb. may be the one incentive to make me limit my Mt. Dew intake this session."


The good news is the bathroom situation isn't quite as dire as it might appear. Minnesota Department of Administration spokesman Curt Yoakum said that in addition the the portable toilets under the Capitol steps, there will be two temperature-controlled trailers outside the Capitol with portable toilets and one of them with be handicapped accessible. Once the Capitol restoration project is finished, the number of public restrooms will jump from 11 to 15 and there will be more women's restrooms, something that has long been an issue.

In the meantime, Yoakum said visitors to the Capitol heading from other nearby state buildings might want to take advantage of those indoor bathrooms before venturing over to the historic building.

— Heather J. Carlson

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