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The Capitol Note: House, governor against Senate on medical marijuana

Mike Mullen//May 12, 2014

The Capitol Note: House, governor against Senate on medical marijuana

Mike Mullen//May 12, 2014

1) It’s two against one for Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, when it comes to medical marijuana. The House, which passed a restrictive proposal aimed at patients with a strictly defined set of medical conditions, got the go-ahead from Gov. Mark Dayton in a letter released Friday.

In that same proposal, Dayton criticized Dibble’s plan. By way of response, Dibble sent a letter to both Dayton and his House counterpart, Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, in which he discussed his view of the inadequacies of Melin’s bill. Dibble has taken a harder stand against law enforcement concerns, which appear to be Dayton’s overriding consideration, compared to Melin. The House unveiled a much different package that law enforcement is neutral on recently.

It’s unclear how a conference committee will resolve the differences between the two bills. “I am convinced a middle ground exists between the House and the Senate files that allows for meaningful study and data gathering on use of medical cannabis that will continue to inform public policymaking,” Dibble wrote on Sunday.

2) The House’s $850 million bonding plan is calendared for a floor vote on Monday, though that could quickly change. Legislative leaders from both bodies had hoped to engineer a deal over bonding to avoid the messy conference committee process.

The Senate’s plan is also $850 million, plus $200 million in cash, but there are some key differences when it comes to specific projects like the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project. That pipeline, likely a key to getting necessary Republican votes, would be funded by Gov. Mark Dayton, but isn’t included in the Senate plan.

The House needs eight Republicans to reach the supermajority threshold necessary to pass a borrowing bill.

3) Gov. Mark Dayton signed in a package of proposals on Sunday meant to equalize a woman’s position in the workplace, the Star Tribune reports. The move will likely be a key DFL talking point in the 2014 elections.

“It really is about fairness,” House Speaker Paul Thissen said. “I think that’s been one of the hallmarks of this biennium, that we have focused on trying to create a Minnesota where fairness is there for everybody and everybody has an equal opportunity to get ahead in all realms of life.”

The law provides additional leave for pregnancy, as well as stricter guidelines for certain firms to ensure pay equity.


Gov. Mark Dayton has scheduled a general media availability for 11:30 a.m. in the reception room this morning. Aside from the press conference, Dayton has no public events on his schedule.

Republican Alma Wetzker has registered to run in House District 45A, the Hennepin County district that has belonged to Rep. Lyndon Carlson, DFL-Crystal, for more than 40 years. Wetzker owns a small business that specializes in signal processing.

The Department of Human Services is hiring for an administrative assistant to the director of that department’s chemical and mental health services branch, and has another two openings for data-entry positions. The assistant role calls for managing the director’s calendar, coordinating inbound and outbound communications and overseeing payroll; the data-entry gigs call for the ability to work with spreadsheets and some customer service abilities. More information available at the state jobs website.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will participate in a forum at the Guthrie Theater to discuss the concept of “growing a great city” next Monday, May 19. The event starts at 6:00 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar after the discussion. Tickets are free but seating is limited; RSVP here.

Lobbyist Patrick Martyn has registered to represent Cash Central of Minnesota, becoming the first advocate on record for that outfit, the local branch of an Ohio-based payday loans company.

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