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The Capitol Note: Medical marijuana proposal continues forward, fate unclear

1) A medical marijuana proposal is moving to another committee in a continued sprint toward an uncertain future.

The plan passed through the Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday and will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Minnesota Public Radio reports. It made it through the Tuesday hearing, where lawmakers debated how to implement the law and Dayton administration officials testified about the difficulties of doing so, on a divided voice vote.

So far, there has been little action on the measure in the House. Gov. Mark Dayton has opposed the plan because of law enforcement concerns.

“I wholeheartedly support this bill, and I plan to vote for it,” Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, said at Tuesday’s hearing. “Fundamentally, this bill grants more authority for doctors and patients to make health care decisions that best fit their needs, and that’s what this is all about.”

2) Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken have significant leads over their Republican challengers, but the number of people who would vote for them didn’t hit the 50 percent mark, according to a poll of voters here done by Suffolk University.

Dayton led his opponents by between 12 percent and 18 percent, while Franken led his challengers by between 15 percent and 16 percent. More than 25 percent of voters are undecided in the governor’s race, compared to about 20 percent in the Senate race, according to the poll. The university polled 800 likely voters Thursday through Monday, and it has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

3) State attorneys are arguing that former GOP Rep. Jim Knoblach, who filed a lawsuit over the funding of the embattled Senate office building, should be on the line for an $18.6 million bond for the project if his case against it fails on appeal, the Associated Press reports.

Knoblach’s atttorney, Erick Kardaal, said the lawsuit would be dead if the court imposed such a burden. “We wouldn’t be able to forward the surety bond,” he said. “It’s too much money.”

The lawsuit is the final delay to the building project.

COMINGS & GOINGS

  • Gov. Mark Dayton will give the State of the State speech at 7:00 p.m. tonight in the House of Representatives. Dayton’s speech will be carried for broadcast on local PBS television and MPR, among other news outlets; his speech will be immediately followed by responses from House and Senate DFL leaders.
  • Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren lobbyist Robert Long registered a pair of new clients, signing up to represent the Hudson Group, a retail company based in Maryland, and the gas station chain Speedway Superamerica. In both instances, Long is the company’s only lobbyist on record in this state.
  • Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate will participate in a forum discussion at Jimmy’s Event Center in Vadnais Heights on Thursday evening. All candidates have been invited, and the event will be moderated by the hosts of the Up and At ‘Em show; $12 advanced tickets, $20 at the door.
  • Samantha Chadwick terminated her registration to lobby on behalf of advocacy group Environment Minnesota. That had been Chadwick’s only registration with the state, and she was listed as that organization’s only current advocate.
  • The DFL Party will hold its 6th and 8th Congressional District endorsing conventions this weekend. The 6th CD meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning at the Monticello Middle School; questions can be directed to Bill Usher at [email protected] or 763-772-7354. The 8th CD convention begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday at the Nashwauk Convention Center; $25 advanced suggested donation, $30 on Saturday; contact Don Bye at 218-568-5530.

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