1) Gov. Mark Dayton has $733,000 on hand for his 2014 election bid, according to the Associated Press. It’s unclear how Dayton’s Republican challengers — the governor faced a tough recount in 2010 — stand compared to Dayton. Scott Honour, a GOP challenger, took in about $200,000, but he didn’t release his total cash on hand ahead of Tuesday.
Dayton loaned his campaign nearly $4 million ahead of the 2010 election. That’s unlikely to happen again this year.
2) Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation on Monday that raises Minnesota’s minimum wage to $9.50 in 2016. The finished bill marks one of the key agreements between Democrats this session. The largest disagreement between the House and the Senate stemmed from indexing the wage to inflation, which House Democrats managed to keep in the bill. But according to the law, the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry will have leeway to suspend the increases in tough economic times, and Republicans have already promised to exercise that option.
Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, criticized Democrats for making a deal that included a Senate office building, which has been ripening into a solid campaign issue for the GOP. It’s unclear whether Dems actually bartered with the office building, but Dayton accused Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk of holding a tax bill hostage in order to build the new space.
3) Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has been working to limit the Legislature’s ability to propose constitutional amendments in the wake of the 2012 election, in which DFLers reclaimed control of the House and Senate. A constitutional amendment bill authored by Bakk includes a proposal to raise the threshold to a 60 percent vote in both chambers to put a question on the fall ballot. Other proposed amendments have stalled out this year.
It’s unclear how the proposal will fare going forward, but it’s good to have the Senate majority leader on your side.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, will not seek re-election this year, according to the Le Seur News-Herald, which reports on Woodard’s announcement to local Republican activists in his district. Woodard, a GOP leader on education issues, has been asked to help form a new Catholic high school aimed at college preparation for children in poverty.
- After two endorsing conventions failed to reach a conclusion, House District 51A Republicans are moving on to a primary, according to SD 51 party chair Jeff Scheutte. Delegates were unable to choose between candidates Andrea-Todd Harlin, a health policy manager, and Victor Lake, a construction business owner. The winner of the GOP contest will face Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan, now serving a third non-consecutive term.
- Kari Abbott was selected as new Aitkin County Republican Party chair, according to a tweet from Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point. Abbott, a clerk for Aitkin County, succeeds Dale Lueck, who won the party endorsement to run against Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby.
- The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) is hiring for phone canvasser fundraising positions around the issues of social justice and environmentalism. The job comes with hours of 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and pays up to $15 an hour including incentives. Email cover letter and resume to Jared Yakle at [email protected]
- The Hennepin County Republican convention is scheduled to take place next Monday, April 21, at Maple Grove High School. Admission is $12 for pre-payment before this Sunday, or $15 at the door. The convention starts at 7:00 p.m. More information here.
- Polaris Industries, makers of outdoors and off-road vehicles including snowmobiles, has registered Steven (J.R.) Burke as a lobbyist in Minnesota, taking its current lobbying presence up to four .