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

Elbow pain sends Dayton to hospital

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: April 2, 2014 - 6:54 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton checked into Regions Hospital in St. Paul briefly Wednesday afternoon for doctors to check on an elbow he bruised over the weekend.

Dayton was experiencing discomfort during the day and decided to get it checked out around 4 p.m., said Dayton spokesman Linden Zakula.

“Regions took great care of him,” Zakula said.

Dayton was heading home around 6:30 p.m. and planned to resume working at the governor’s residence.

He is expected to be back and the Capitol on Thursday and will resume his normal schedule. He has a 9 a.m. radio interview planned and meetings throughout the day.

The governor had hip surgery earlier this year and spent a month working from the governor’s residence while he recuperated.

Medical marijuana backers rip Dayton in new TV ad

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: April 2, 2014 - 12:34 PM

Medical marijuana supporters are airing a new ad on Minnesota TV stations that criticizes Gov. Mark Dayton for not supporting a proposal at the Capitol to legalize it. 

The ad features a Minnesota mother with a five-year-old son who suffers a rare disorder she said causes him multiple seizures every day. Angela Garin of Inver Grove Heights said her son Paxton's seizures were drastically reduced with exposure to medical marijuana on a trip to Oregon, where the family was able to access it legally. 

In the ad, Garin urges viewers to "tell Gov. Dayton to support Paxton and stop blocking access to medical marijuana." 

Heather Azzi of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care said the ad was paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates nationwide for medical marijuana legalization. She would not disclose the cost of the ad buy but said it is statewide. 

The ad is set to start airing Wednesday night during the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and the Late Show with David Letterman, and then during several morning news and talk shows on Thursday. Azzi said the group is likely to air a second ad starting next week. 

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota has been much discussed at the Capitol this year, but has made little legislative progress. Advocates are planning a news conference outside Dayton's office on Thursday to deliver a petition in support of the bill. Advocates have been particularly critical of Dayton, alleging that in a recent private meeting with medical marijuana supporters that the governor suggested they could buy the drug illegally. Dayton has denied that. 

The ad can be viewed here

Dayton gives lukewarm response to House bonding proposal

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: April 2, 2014 - 12:57 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton expressed disappointment Wednesday in House Democrats’ bonding proposal, criticizing it as underfunded and saying that an agreement last year between DFLers and Republicans to bond no more than $850 million should be rescinded.

“There’s certainly capacity to go higher than that,” Dayton said. “It’s an impossible task to try to meet all those needs, and the urgent needs should be funded.”

Dayton’s remarks came the day after the House released its proposal to fund nearly $1 billion in state projects. Their bonding bill would be funded by two sources: $850 million from the sale of state construction bonds and another $125 million from the state’s budget surplus. Dayton said he disagreed with the cash-for-bonding measure.

“I’ve said to both leaders in the House and Senate that we don’t use cash for bonding bills because that’s the whole purpose of bonding, you put cash down and expand the scope of projects dramatically,” Dayton said. “Putting cash into a bonding bill to me is antithetical to the whole purpose of that enterprise.”

Dayton expressed concern that the bill only includes $20 million for Capitol renovations, saying the Department of Administration needs $125 million in hand soon to fulfill necessary construction contracts. There, he would support using cash to meet that deadline in order to keep construction costs down.

Dayton made his remarks following a news conference with Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans, in which they urged the estimated 1 million Minnesotans who have yet to file their taxes to do so starting today to receive tax cut benefits.

Dayton also said he would deliver his State of the State address April 23 in the House chambers, when the Legislature returns from recess. He said he hoped the date would provide a strong incentive for the Legislature to adjourn before then, “but it didn’t seem to have that effect.”
 

'Unsession' proposals closer to final passage

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: April 1, 2014 - 1:56 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton is closer to getting a significant political win as major pieces of his government streamlining effort race though the Legislature.

Dayton’s administration unveiled a plan to do away with more than 1,000 antiquated or outdated laws that gunk up legal books and make government more aggravating for consumers.

Some of the proposals have fallen away, but a few new ones were added – keeping the totally around 1,000 proposals. All have passed crucial committees and are close to final passage.

“They are all in good shape,” said Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Tony Sertich, who has been guiding the initiatives through the legislative process.

Sertich and some of Dayton’s top policy experts have met privately with stakeholders to work though problems with some of the more controversial measures, such as efforts to shorten the state's rule-making process.

Sertich said he doesn’t expect significant trouble for the remaining proposals awaiting final passage. None of the measures being considered have any cost for taxpayers.

The streamlining effort, which Dayton dubbed the “unsession,” has been a significant initiative for the governor, even if has slipped from the spotlight due to the state’s projected budget surplus.

On Monday, Dayton sent a letter to all 33,000 state employees thanking them for their hundreds of ideas to improve state government.

“I believe this initiative will help state employees deliver high-value, efficient services to Minnesotans – reducing confusion, saving time, and improving customer satisfaction,” Dayton wrote in the letter.

Dayton's office also produced a touting the improvements that will come from the government streamlining effort.

Qualify for the new tax breaks? Hold return until Thursday, state says

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: April 1, 2014 - 1:19 PM

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has finished retooling state forms for software companies so consumers can take advantage of rebates for new tax law changes.

Revenue officials will begin transitioning their system at the end of Tuesday, allowing Minnesotans who haven’t filed access to the most up-to-date tax data. They are instructing consumers have not filed their Minnesota tax returns and who could benefit from the law changes to wait until at least Thursday to submit their state tax filings.

Gov. Mark Dayton just signed into law about $440 million, including about $57 million that is retroactive for the 2013 tax year.

Minnesotans who lost their home to foreclosure, adopted a child or had student loan debt could see a much larger refund, or have to pay in less in taxes, as part of the new tax laws.

Last week, revenue department officials instructed tax preparers not to submit new returns until the system is updated.

So far, more than 56 percent of Minnesotans have filed their taxes.

Revenue officials will review the taxes of those who already filed to determine who is owed a refund.

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