1) The state Republican party will stand behind state Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald despite legal troubles stemming from an intoxicated driving allegation, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
The Republican Party of Minnesota’s executive team met last Thursday and in part discussed MacDonald’s endorsement. “Regardless of anyone’s individual opinion on these issues, in a party which respects the rule of law and the constitution, we are not in a position to look backwards or change a decision which was made under the rules as they are,” the committee wrote to party delegates.
The state party chair, Keith Downey, has said he didn’t know of MacDonald’s legal trouble until after the state endorsing convention that began in late May.
2) Minnesotans will have an easier time accessing the ballot box because of recent changes to the state election system, the Star Tribune reports.
No excuse absentee voting means voters won’t have to provide a reason for not being able to get to the polls on Election Day. A legislatively authorized online registration system means easier access to voting, and is part of a nationwide trend. Absentee ballots become available on June 27.
3) Lawmakers may convene for a special legislative session to provide relief for flood damages in Minnesota, or at least Gov. Mark Dayton is keeping that option open, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
Dayton and federal lawmakers began the early process of looking into federal government aid for the flood damages, which includes perhaps 40 percent of farmland in southwest Minnesota. Dayton said lawmakers could come in for a special state legislative session since the $3 million set aside for disasters won’t be enough to cover the damage.
“I don’t rule that out at this point if it’s necessary,” Dayton said. “We’re going to get the help to people who need it as rapidly as possible.
COMINGS & GOINGS
Three Minneapolis DFL legislators are holding a town hall meeting event in the city tomorrow evening. Reps. Frank Hornstein and Raymond Dehn, and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, will be available at the Bryn Mawr Elementary School cafeteria beginning at 5:30 p.m., with a discussion theme of transportation in Minnesota.
John Thorson has terminated his registration to advocate for the Education Minnesota teachers union, which he had represented since early March. That organization still has nearly two dozen lobbyists enlisted. For Thorson, who formerly worked for the AFSCME Council 5 union, the deletion leaves him without any clients on file.
A group of prominent conservative women are hosting a fundraiser for Barb Sutter, the GOP candidate in House District 49B, in Bloomington on Thursday evening. Among those expected to be on hand are GOP Reps. Jennifer Loon, Kathy Lohmer and Cindy Pugh, Sen. Karin Housley, and Janet Beihoffer, national committeewoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Suggested donations $100; more information here.
A pair of new political funds have registered with the state, and judging by appearances, the two may wind up backing different candidates in the fall. Middle Class Majority signed-up with the campaign finance board on June 16, listing Geri Katz, political organizer for the Minnesota Nurses Association union, as its committee chair. The following day, the Child Protection League PAC registered, with Michele Lentz, legislative assistant to GOP Sen. Sean Nienow, as its chair, and Julie Quist — a conservative activist and wife of former GOP state Rep. Allen Quist — as its treasurer.