NHL, Orchestra Lockouts Get Scrutiny At Capitol

Updated: 10/07/2013 1:54 PM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser

The chairman of the Minnesota House Commerce Committee says there might be legislation coming to address future labor lockouts. 

"We've seen something akin to a flu epidemic with the number of employee lockouts," Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) said at the outset of a hearing Wednesday afternoon at the State Capitol. 

He was referring to the 119-day NHL lockout that ended earlier this month and two orchestra lockouts.  The Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis is on day 115 of its lockout. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has been locked out for 93 days. 

The City of St. Paul estimates the lockout of the Minnesota Wild cost nearly a million dollars per lost game. The team will play 16 fewer regular season games this year due to the lockout. 

Atkins says he's considering legislation that would give the state and possibly cities some financial protection in future lockouts. He points out the Wild and the orchestras all play in buildings built using millions in taxpayer dollars.