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The Capitol Note: DFL and GOP set to take advantage of new absentee voting law

1) Both political parties highlighted Minnesota’s new absentee voting law when outlining their ground games heading into the Aug. 12 primary elections, the Pioneer Press reports.

The GOP fleshed out plans for 10 regional “victory centers” that are operating across the state, and opened up the possibility of 10 more in a press conference on Thursday.

“This is a substantial upgrade in what the state party is helping provide for our candidates,” Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Keith Downey said.

The DFL also announced on Thursday that it had opened 18 offices across the state. Both parties want to use no-excuse absentee voting to the advantage of their endorsed candidates. The GOP has contested primaries in the races for governor and US Senate, while the DFL has a competitive race for state auditor.

2) Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent after the state added 10,300 jobs in May, according to estimates from the Department of Employment and Economic Development released on Thursday, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The state has added more than 45,000 jobs over the last year for a growth rate of 1.6 percent, which lags behind the overall US economy’s improvement at 1.8 percent.

“Minnesota’s unemployment rate is at the lowest level in seven years, which is yet another indicator of our improving economy,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said.

3) Gov. Mark Dayton and US Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will tour flood-affected areas in southern Minnesota on Friday after the previous day’s torrential rains caused the governor to declare a state of emergency in 35 counties, the Star Tribune reports

The state emergency order gives counties access to counties for flood damage repair efforts. Between three and six inches of rain fell across the metro area.

COMINGS & GOINGS

  • The League of Minnesota Cities elected Eagan City Administrator Dave Osberg to serve as its new president, the Pioneer Press reports. Osberg is a former city administrator for Hastings, and had previously served as first vice president for the municipal interest group.
  • The Hack for MN 2014 event, which combines technology, public interest and data, will be held this weekend in Bloomington. The topic theme for part of this year’s event is ending homelessness among the state’s veterans, though participants are encouraged to bring their own ideas or questions. The event is free and open to the public; more information here.
  • The state chapter of the AFL-CIO announced a round of candidate endorsements, pledging support for a slew of DFL candidates in congressional, legislative and constitutional office races. Among those endorsed are DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and DFL Secretary of State candidate Steve Simon. See the full list of endorsements here.
  • The University of Minnesota Consortium on Law and Values is hiring for a communications manager position. The job description combines outreach to public officials and institutions, media relations, content creation and supervision of other  employees. Qualifications include at least four years of experience in public relations or a related field. Apply online at the University jobs website; req #191946.
  • A pair of lobbyists have terminated their registrations to work for your-exchange.com, a gold exchange and check cashing service operated out of Spring Lake Park. Scott Bennet and Michael Schardin canceled their advocacy rules effective late last month, leaving the website service without representation in this state; Schardin also terminated his registration with betmar languages, which is basedin Fridley.

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