Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

The Capitol Note: Judge shuts down online voter registration, legislation imminent

Mike Mullen//April 29, 2014

The Capitol Note: Judge shuts down online voter registration, legislation imminent

Mike Mullen//April 29, 2014

1) Minnesota’s controversial online voter registration system — implemented with out express legislative direction — was shut down by a judge on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Lawmakers this session have been working to give legislative backing to the program, which Secretary of State Mark Ritchie implemented last year.

Gov. Mark Dayton could get a bill authorizing the online registration — the policy isn’t controversial among lawmakers, just the way the secretary of state’s office put it in place — as early as Tuesday, which would minimize service disruptions. Roughly 3,600 people have used the system to register to vote.

A handful of lawmakers and conservative groups, including Minnesota Majority, which backed the failed Voter ID amendment in 2012, were part of the lawsuit.

2) A procedural vote on Monday gave a medical marijuana proposal a path forward in the state Senate, where it will be heard at least twice this week in a last ditch effort to get the measure to the full floor, according to the Pioneer Press.

The Senate Rules Committee voted to waive a requirement that would have blocked the plan from moving forward since its so late in the legislative session. If it passes through the other committees, the medical marijuana bill could also be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.

The Republican leader, Sen. David Hann, questioned why the Senate is pushing forward with legislation that Gov. Mark Dayton likely won’t sign.

“The governor, probably about two weeks ago, actually asked the Legislature to move on the bill,” Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk responded during the hearing. “I guess, at his request, we thought we would show him that courtesy.”

3) Senate Republicans are hammering their opponents across the aisle for paying a political consultant and blogger roughly $40,000 over the past few years while the man has had press credentials to access the upper chamber’s floor during debates, the Star Tribune reports.

Shawn Towle, the consultant, was also paid roughly $15,000 by the Republican Party of Minnesota in 2010 and 2011. Towle said that he was actually credentialed by the Republicans when they were in the majority. The Senate DFL declined to comment to the Star Tribune.

These concerns over who gets credentialed at the Capitol are an ongoing issue as the media landscape continues to change.


  • Attorney and Brooklyn Park City Council member Peter Crema has registered to run as a Republican in House District 36B, where Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, is now serving in her fifth term. Hortman won re-election with about 55 percent of the vote in 2012. Crema works for Minneapolis firm Cozen O’Connor, where he specializes in business litigation.
  • Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced the hiring of Erick Garcia Luna to her policy staff, where he will be tasked with insuring that the city’s economic development occurs inclusively. Garcia Luna is a past chair of the DFL Latino Caucus, and most recently worked on the outreach team for DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
  • Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris Dahlberg was endorsed by former GOP Congressman Chip Cravaack, according to a press release issued on Monday.
  • Lobbyist Stacy Pearson has terminated her registration to work for the Child Protection League Action group, bringing an end to an engagement that lasted about five months. With Pearson’s change, the education advocacy group is back down to a lone lobbyist on record.
  • Jo Emerson, mayor of White Bear Lake, has been elected as the newest president of the Minnesota Mayors Association, according to the Pioneer Press. In that role, the second-term mayor is the titular leader of an organization that represents more than 500 of the state’s mayors.
  • Progressive advocacy group TakeAction Minnesota is hiring for field canvasser staff to carry out door-to-door outreach. Prior experience in canvassing a plus; pay is $12.25 an hour, with benefits. Call or email Gordon at 651.379.0749 or [email protected] to inquire.

Top News

See All Top News

Legal calendar

Click here to see upcoming Minnesota events

Expert Testimony

See All Expert Testimony