With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton's appointments increase diversity among Minnesota judges

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: July 14, 2014 - 3:12 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton has greatly increased the diversity of Minnesota judges through appointing female and minority judges to Minnesota courts, according to analysis by the administration.

Since 2011, Dayton has appointed 76 new judges to fill vacancies in Minnesota’s 10 judicial districts, the state Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court, increasing the racial diversity of the state’s judges by 53 percent, and the number of female judges by 18 percent.

During his term, Dayton has appointed seven of the state's nine Hispanic judges, or 78 percent of them.  Dayton also appointed the first Hispanic appellate court judge in Minnesota history in March by naming intellectual property attorney Peter Reyes Jr. to the 19-judge panel. Dayton appointed Justice Wilhelmina Wright, the state’s first black woman to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2012. Since Justice Alan Page, who is also black, was first elected to the Supreme Court, Wright is the first black Minnesotan appointed to the Supreme Court by a governor.

In other numbers, Dayton increased the number of women judges in greater Minnesota by 36 percent, and increased diversity in Hennepin County, the state’s busiest judicial district, by 86 percent.
 

In other numbers:
1,490 applications were filed for 86 judicial vacancies during Dayton’s term so far. Of them:

  • 839 were male
  • 483 were female
  • 1,146 were white
  • 47 were black
  • 36 were Latino
  • 23 were Asian/Pacific Islander
  • 13 were American Indian
  • 57 did not disclose

Of those applications, 211 finalists were chosen by the Judicial Selection Committee for Dayton's consideration. Of those finalists:

  • 120 were male
  • 91 were female
  • 177 were white
  • 14 were black
  • 13 were Latino
  • 4 were American Indian
  • 3 were Asian/Pacific Islander

Dayton is expected to make appointments for 10 current vacancies in the coming months.

Zellers touts Dayton's 'surrender' after shutdown

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: July 14, 2014 - 11:52 AM

Republican gubernatorial candidate and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers is claiming credit for getting DFL Mark Dayton to “surrender” after the government shutdown three years ago.

"Democrats, political pundits, special interest groups, and even many Republicans predicted that we wouldn't hold to our principles," Zellers said Monday, marking the three-year anniversary of the end of the shutdown. "But I did not surrender and the GOP legislative majorities did not cave. Instead, it was Governor Dayton who surrendered to us after two weeks."

Dayton and the Republican-led Legislature could not agree on the budget and sent the state into a three-week partial government shutdown, the longest in state history. The state faced a multibillion-dollar deficit and the two sides could not agree the best way to patch up the budget.

Dayton wanted more than $2 billion in tax increases mostly on high earners. Zellers and other Republicans refused to raise taxes and instead wanted to borrow money from K-12 public schools and sell bonds backed by the state’s tobacco settlement.

Dayton eventually agreed to accept the Republican plan, though remained sharply critical of the borrowing.

While Dayton did not get his way in the shutdown, Minnesota voters jettisoned enough Republicans in the next election to give Democrats control of both the House and the Senate. Zellers lost his leardership position, too.

After their historic gains, Dayton and legislative Democrats eventually did raise taxes on high earners and smokers to balance the state budget. The economic recovery allowed to state to repay all of the money borrowed from public schools.

Zellers said he still believes the tax increases were bad for Minnesotans.

"I understood that it was wrong to force middle-class families to pay more for government during an economic downturn,” Zellers said. "I'm the only candidate who has proven his strength and his commitment to conservative principles to be able to beat Dayton and the liberal interest groups again in November."

Minnesota tax collections beat annual target by $168 million

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: July 10, 2014 - 4:15 PM

Minnesota tax collections surpassed expectations by $168 million over the last year, boosted largely by stronger than expected income and sales tax revenue.

Revenue collections had lagged slightly the last few months, but surging state income tax payments allowed state to take in $235 million more than state budget officials estimated for that period.

Corporate income taxes were down slightly, but higher than expected sales tax revenue helped make up for it. The corporate tax is the most volatile, and wild swings are not uncommon.

Minnesota budget officials warn that the U.S. economy hit "a deep pothole” at the beginning of 2014, resulting in the worst quarterly performance since the depths of the Great Recession in early 2009.

Economic experts attributed the drop to a sharp swing in the trade deficit, a surprise fall in health care spending and extreme winter weather. The bad weather slowed consumer spending, housing, and industrial activity.

Economists say the economy is staring to improve rapidly, with faster employment and income growth, along with improving home and vehicle sales.

Dayton appoints members to medical marijuana task force

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: July 10, 2014 - 3:45 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday named the 16 members appointed to a Task Force  that will oversee and evaluate the impact of medical marijuana in Minnesota.
The Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research was created when the Minnesota Legislature last May passed a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana for a limited number of maladies. It is among the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the nation.

The task force of health care providers, law enforcement, consumers and their parents from throughout the state make up the committee. Their terms are effective July 15 through Jan. 5, 2015.

Here are the members:

James Backstrom – Hastings, MN
Minnesota County Attorneys Association Representative

Duane Bandel – Minneapolis, MN
Consumer Member

Maria Botker – Clinton, MN
Parent Member

Dennis Flaherty – St. Paul, MN
Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Representative

Karina Forrest – White Bear Township, MN
Substance Use Treatment Provider

James Franklin – St. Paul, MN
Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Representative

Dr. Pamela Gonzalez – Minneapolis, MN
Substance Use Treatment Provider

David Hartford – St. Cloud, MN
Substance Use Treatment Provider

Dr. Vincent Hayden – Minneapolis, MN
Substance Use Treatment Provider

Chief David Kolb – Champlin, MN
Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Representative

Doreen McIntyre – Champlin, MN
Health Care Provider

Jeremy Pauling – Montevideo, MN
Parent Member

Dr. Charles Reznikoff – Minneapolis, MN
Health Care Provider

Laura Schwartzwald – Aitkin, MN
Pharmacist Member

Sarah Wellington –St. Paul, MN
Consumer Member

Dr. Dawn Wyllie – Bemidji, MN
Health Care Provider

The Minnesota Department of Health is still seeking an administrator for the state's medical marjuana program.
 

Zellers picks up legislative endorsements

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: July 10, 2014 - 11:32 AM

Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers unveiled a slate of new legislative endorsements Thursday, gaining the support of 16 current and former Republican legislators.

“He is the only candidate for governor who has succeeded in advancing Republican principles on high-stakes issues,” said state Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley. “As Speaker of the House, Kurt made Governor Dayton and the liberal special interest groups surrender on the state budget, and he is the best candidate to defeat Mark Dayton this fall.”

Zellers is among four GOP candidates vying to take on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who is seeking a second term. Zellers’ gubernatorial rivals include Orono businessman Scott Honour, former state Rep. Marty Seifert and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who is the GOP endorsed candidate.

All four will face off in the Aug. 12 GOP primary, where voters will decide which one will challenge Dayton.

Here is the list of Zellers’ new endorsements:

Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville

Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska

Rep. Jeff Howe, R-Rockville

Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing

Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley

Rep. John Petersburg, R-Owatonna

Rep. Tim Sanders, R-Blaine

Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River

Former Rep. Roger Crawford, R-Mora

Former Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria

Former Rep. Doug Lindgren, R-Bagley

Former Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Ottertail

Former Rep. Jim Rhodes, R-St. Louis Park

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT