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Minnesota lawmaker has concerns abut recent lockouts in pro sports


ST. PAUL, MN (WTAQ) - Lockouts by three pro sports leagues have raised political concerns in neighboring Minnesota.

The state House Commerce Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday afternoon on lockouts in general.

Panel chairman Joe Atkins says teams get millions in state subsidies by promising jobs and economic activity. And he wants to hold franchises to those pledges.

The National Hockey League just lost almost half its regular season due to an owners’ lockout.

Last season, the National Basketball Association caused the Milwaukee Bucks and other teams to lose 16 games each. The National Football League had a lockout in 2011 that was settled just before the Green Bay Packers and others were scheduled to open their July training camps.

None of Wisconsin’s pro teams get direct state subsidies. But the state provides maintenance funds at the BMO Harris Bradley Center where the Bucks play. The state also oversees a five-county stadium district and sales tax for Milwaukee’s Miller Park where the Brewers play.

In Minnesota, Atkins says the Vikings could ask lawmakers for changes in their stadium agreement. And if that happens, he says the lockout issue might come up.