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Ehlinger confirmation hearing ‘postponed indefinitely’

Jake Grovum//April 27, 2012//

Ehlinger confirmation hearing ‘postponed indefinitely’

Jake Grovum//April 27, 2012//

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Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger (Staff photo: Bill Klotz)

Senate Health and Human Services Chairman David Hann has “postponed indefinitely” a confirmation hearing for the Dayton administration’s health commissioner after a meeting with the governor Friday morning.

Hann scheduled the confirmation for Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger on Thursday afternoon for Friday morning, and it promised to be a potentially tense affair. Hann has posed tough questions to Ehlinger on health care and in particular state abortion policy and oversight from his perch as Senate HHS chairman this session.

But a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton Friday morning prompted Hann to postpone the hearing indefinitely, defusing another potential Senate GOP-administration showdown over the confirmation of a member of Dayton’s cabinet. The ouster of Ellen Anderson as head of the Public Utilities Commission earlier this session led Dayton to issue some of his harshest critiques against Republicans since last year’s government shutdown.

After the postponement was made public, Dayton lauded the move in a statement.

“I am deeply grateful to Senator Hann for his very gracious willingness to postpone Commissioner Ehlinger’s confirmation hearing,” Dayton said. “It is a responsible and commendable resolution, for which he deserves full credit.”

Hann has seemingly had his eye on a tough confirmation hearing for Ehlinger for some time. Earlier this session, he held a hearing to ask some pointed questions of the commissioner on how the state oversees abortion facilities, and those issues could have been recently stirred thanks to recent vetoes from Dayton on a few abortion-related regulatory bills passed by the Legislature.

Hann, at one point, also identified Ehlinger as one commissioner who was on the Senate GOP’s “watch list” of commissioners that might be up for tough confirmation votes if taken up in committee and on the floor.

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