1) In the final State of the State address of his first term, Gov. Mark Dayton called on lawmakers to come together despite differing political philosophies, the Star Tribune reports.
Dayton ran through a list of accomplishments under his first term — gay marriage, expanded health insurance access, a minimum wage hike and anti-school bullying proposals, to name a few — and asked lawmakers to look forward. This session, he called for a $1.2 billion bonding bill, which is a step higher than the $850 million package on the table currently under contention among the two parties. Next year, he called for stable transportation funding and a reduction in the number of tests administered to children in schools.
“While we may not find a unity of means, I believe we do share a unity of purpose,” Dayton said. “We all love this state. We all want to see it prosper.”
Senate Majority Leader David Hann and other Republicans, unsurprisingly, had a different view of the speech than Dayton’s colleagues. “You can’t talk about unity this week when you’ve called the Republicans dastardly and a variety of other names in the last couple of weeks,” Marty Seifert, a former state representative and a current candidate for governor, told reporters after the speech.
2) A pro-wolf group says up to 30,000 constituent emails were blocked as spam from reaching House members since August, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
“We lost a lot of momentum because of this,” Howling for Wolves President Maureen Hackett said, noting the problem was only with the House’s system and not the Senate’s email.
The House’s emails filter blocked 3 million emails from the groups’ service between January and April, though not all of that was from Howling for Wolves.
3) MNsure named interim CEO Scott Leitz its official CEO on Wednesday at a board meeting.
Leitz stepped in to take over the exchange at its darkest hour, and oversaw an impressive rebound of the beleaguered portal. Since then, MNsure has replaced its lead contractor and is positioning to build next year on more than 200,000 public and private enrollments.
“Scott’s created some positive momentum, and I’d like to remove doubt about the leadership of the organization and remove the ‘interim’ from his title,” MNsure board Chairman Brian Beutner told the board.
Still to come are tough decisions about whether to shore up MNsure’s IT systems, patched together with manual workarounds, or pull the plug and start over.
COMINGS & GOINGS