1) Gov. Mark Dayton will sign an anti-bullying measure on Wednesday following its passage in the House shortly after midnight, the Star Tribune reports. The bill, which stalled in the Senate during last session’s waning hours, was approved with Republican opposition. It would require schools to better train staff to prevent bullying and require that incidents be investigated and tracked.
“This provides a strong set of tools to create a strong local anti-bullying policy and create safe educational climates in Minnesota,” Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, said of his bill.
2) The Senate passed a $210 million supplemental budget on Tuesday — about one-third smaller than a similar House proposal that lawmakers there voted through last week, the Pioneer Press reports. The House and Senate plans share some provisions, including a 5 percent pay bump for home care workers, as well as education spending increases and money for school lunches and fixing potholes. The Senate bill, though, focuses on early childhood education while the House measure would provide a $58 per-pupil increase in overall student aid.
The Senate also provides $26 million for higher education institutions and $11 million for the Corrections Department. “This is a relatively small bill, but it does some important things,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, said.
3) Gov. Mark Dayton renewed his criticisms that Republican lawmakers are simply propagandists counting on MNsure’s failure for their own electoral gain, Minnesota Public radio reports. Republicans on the MNsure Legislative Oversight Committee had called for Dayton officials to report to the committee on Wednesday following a Star Tribune investigation that showed the governor knew about problems with MNsure before its launch.
“I don’t think we want to make it look bad. I think that it’s doing that on its own to a certain extent,” said Rep. Tara Mack,R-Apple Valley. “If the governor isn’t going to acknowledge that, somebody needs to. Otherwise we’re failing Minnesotans.”
But Dayton pushed back — inveighing, as he has many times in the past, about Republicans’ cynical motives in criticizing the beleaguered exchange. The governor said members of his administration wouldn’t be at the hearing on Wednesday.
“It’s a farce. They’re making a mockery of the word ‘oversight.’ Oversight means you look at it objectively and fairly and at what’s really going on,” Dayton said at a Tuesday press conference. “And now that there’s good news about MNsure, they want to go back and dredge up what’s happened six months ago.”
4) Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, will try again on Wednesday to amend a medical marijuana provision into a health policy bill. The move comes after Garofalo attempted to do so with a different bill that was eventually pulled from Wednesday’s docket. His attempts also follow comments from Gov. Mark Dayton that lawmakers this session have been standing on the sidelines this session while he has taken all the public hits for trying to come up with a compromise on the controversial measure.
Dayton has faced criticisms from groups backing a medical marijuana proposal and has been reluctant to support what lawmakers are proposing.
“We appreciate the Governor’s work to find a compromise that will help the families with kids with epilepsy,” House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said in a statement. “We share that goal, and believe there is an opportunity to work in partnership with the administration to reach a solution, but taking up Rep. Garofalo’s amendment will not help us achieve that result.”
COMINGS & GOINGS