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The Capitol Note: Dems unveil specifics in $283M of supplemental spending

Mike Mullen//May 13, 2014

The Capitol Note: Dems unveil specifics in $283M of supplemental spending

Mike Mullen//May 13, 2014

1) Legislative Democrats have agreed on their spending priorities this session as part of a $283 million supplemental budget package that was released on Monday.

The sector-by-sector targets — ranging from higher education to health and human services — signal that an overall deal on specific projects and policies is close. Lawmakers have already come to an agreement on $103 million in additional tax cuts and are working on an $850 million bonding plan that will be accompanied by $200 million in cash appropriations.

“This is a budget that invests in bread-and-butter priorities important to Minnesotans,” said DFL Rep. Lyndon Carlson, who leads the House side of the negotiations. “We can continue to grow our economy by focusing on priorities that will expand middle class opportunity, create more jobs, and improve the quality of education for our children.”

Here is a list of the categorical spending targets:

  • Education: $54 million
  • Higher education: $22.25 million
  • Health and human services: $103.9 million
  • Environment and agriculture: $12 million
  • Transportation: $15 million
  • Judiciary and Public Safety: $35,000
  • Jobs and Economic Development: $19.875 million
  • State government: $705,000

2) Gov. Mark Dayton attempted to push lawmakers working on a medical marijuana proposal toward his position when they come together this week to iron out the differences between the House and Senate bills, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Dayton last week sent a letter to lawmakers saying he would sign the House’s more restrictive version of the bill, which passed last Friday by a bipartisan vote of 86-39. The Senate passed its version, which allows for easier access to the plant both in terms of logistics and qualifying ailments, last Tuesday on a 48-18 vote. House sponsor Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, has been criticized for giving in to the law enforcement community’s demands that make up Dayton’s disapproval, but she has maintained that compromise is necessary to move the bill forward.

In a press conference on Monday, Dayton called on lawmakers to include the tightly controlled access in the House plan and some of the more clearly defined security language in the Senate bill. But a co-author on the legislation, Sen. Branden Petersen, R-Andover, criticized Dayton for his opposition.

“The fact that you’ve got a bill that passes with 86 votes and 48 votes, respectively, I think it’s a little bit unreasonable to think that the governor is going to have all of his own way on the issue, or that there is no middle ground between what the Senate is proposing and the House is proposing,” Petersen said.

3) Lawmakers will meet on Tuesday to hash out whether to adopt Senate language banning  lottery sales online and at gas pumps as part of a gambling bill this session, the Pioneer Press reports.

Gov. Mark Dayton said he is still evaluating the plan. Lottery officials have said they believe they had the legal authority to conduct online sales.


  • Move MN, the labor/business coalition pushing for increased transportation spending, will hold a 10:00 a.m. press conference in room 125 of the Capitol to draw attention to continued need in that area.
  • The Humphrey School of Public Affairs has a pair of public events of interest to Capitol regulars on its calendar tomorrow. At 8:30 a.m., Senate Minority Leader David Hann will participate in a discussion of the Republican vision for the state; at 2:00 p.m., a panel of experts, including Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, will meet to discuss the implementation of health care reform in Minnesota. Both events will be held in the school’s Humphrey Forum, and are free and open to the public. Register for Hann’s talk here, and the health care forum here.
  • Republican U.S. Senate candidate Julianne Ortman announced that her campaign has brought on two new campaign staffers to focus on “community outreach.” Frank Mendez, of Chanhassen, is former president of the National Hispanic Republican Assembly of Minnesota, and Marian Rage is a Somali-American small business owner.
  • Mary Most Vanek has announced that she will retire as executive director of the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) of Minnesota, effective in January. Vanek has been with that association since 1975, and has held the top position for the last 17 years. The PERA board plans to discuss a plan to find her successor at its August meeting.
  • Gov. Mark Dayton announced the reappointment of William Faber to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Faber works as a wildlife and natural resources professor at Central Lakes College; the appointment runs through January 1, 2018.

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