Amid a summer of choreographed campaign roll-outs for the governor’s office and Congress, a number of candidates are quietly preparing for next year’s legislative election, when the House DFL Caucus will look to defend its majority.
Democrats in the House have approved an $11.2 billion health and human services budget bill that would trim $150 million from spending over the next two years while also making first-ever investments in mental health programs in schools.
The bill passed off the House floor Monday night on a 70-64 vote after more than nine hours of debate. The bill would provide a 3 percent increase to cost-of-living for nursing homes and a 2 percent increase for long-term care providers while cutting about $150 million from projected HHS spending.
Coming off the 2012 election, lawmakers are looking to make good on campaign promises to improve education and lower property taxes. On the issue of special education, both of those concerns are at play on a large scale.
It’s been six years since DFL legislators reached a deal with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty to require utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Energy advocates are cheering the progress made since the Renewable Energy Standard was passed in 2007, and they’re starting to roll out bills that would increase the amount of power generated from solar and wind.
Through his experience as a member of the Cottage Grove Police Department, Dan Schoen witnessed firsthand the dangers of synthetic marijuana. Working with DFL Sen. Katie Sieben and GOP Rep. John Kriesel, Schoen helped build support for legislation outlawing such substances.
The new DFL legislative majorities that will take power in January owe a lot to the rejiggering of the geographic balance within their caucuses.
Rep. Frank Hornstein narrowly defeated Rep. Marion Greene in a DFL endorsement contest Saturday for a South Minneapolis seat. Greene conceded defeat after the third ballot.
For former DFL Sen. Jim Carlson, it was a matter of a little reflection and time to “lick my wounds” before he knew he was ready to run again for the state Senate. Carlson, who served one term in the chamber, was ousted last fall by Republican newcomer Ted Daley as part of a massive GOP wave that saw the party take control of both the House and Senate for the first time in nearly four decades.
A negative mailing arrived in Republican state Senate candidate Dan Hall's district last weekend that caught him by surprise.
While the governor's race may be the marquee feature in this year's campaign season, the large number of swing districts in play at the Minnesota Legislature are the object of lower-profile but no less intense campaign spending machinations by a number of groups.
The Voices of Conservative Women political action committee (VOICESPAC), based in Maple Grove, has endorsed eight candidates for the Minnesota state Legislature, three in the Senate and five in the House.
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