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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

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Gov. Mark Dayton threatens veto of any gun silencer bill

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: April 23, 2015 - 3:31 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton today threatened to veto any bill that legalizes firearm suppression devices, commonly known as silencers. 

The Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly passed a bill last week that would legalize the devices, which are said to reduce gun noise by about 30 decibels; even the smallest firearms create noise of at least 140 decibels, according the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. 

In a statement released by his office, Dayton said: "Nowhere in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does it refer to a right to bear a silencer. To allow gunshots to be silenced increases the danger to law enforcement officers, and to innocent bystanders."

Team Clinton hires lead for Minnesota grassroots operation

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 23, 2015 - 3:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign hired former gun safety advocate Scott Hogan to lead the grassroots organizing operation in Minnesota, officials said Thursday.

Hogan previously worked as the Minnesota director and campaign manager for Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for local and federal gun laws to promote gun safety, according to its website.

Hogan is an alum of Indiana University and speaks Spanish, according to his LinkedIn profile.

From the campaign:

"Working with Hillary supporters will coordinate local grassroots organizing meetings, volunteer trainings, house parties and days of action. By engaging supporters and training volunteers, the Clinton campaign is building local grassroots volunteer infrastructure that will be ready to compete and win the primary or caucus in that state."

The campaign also says that in May, these teams will organize people together at house parties to watch as she "lays out the vision for her campaign."

The Minnesota hire is apart of a 50-state grassroots organizing network the Brooklyn-based team is building now.

Dayton: House leaders should admonish Newberger's 'horrible' north Minneapolis comment

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: April 22, 2015 - 2:20 PM

Updated

Gov. Mark Dayton said House leadership should publicly admonish Republican Rep. Jim Newberger for his remarks that a rail line connecting north Minneapolis to the state prison in St. Cloud would be "convenient."

“I think it’s horrible, I think he should be reprimanded, if not censured, by his leadership. The fact that nobody has made comment on that in House leadership, I think is appalling,” Dayton told reporters Wednesday.

Newberger, a paramedic from Becker, drew boos on the House floor during Tuesday night’s debate on the GOP transportation budget. The second-term lawmaker noted that the proposed route would take Northstar right past the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

"Boy, wouldn't that be convenient to have that rail line going from the prison to north Minneapolis?" Newberger said. Scattered boos could be heard in the chamber. Video here via The Uptake.

Newberger quickly backtracked. "I'm not casting any aspersions on north Minneapolis," he said. "I know some folks got their ire up, and rightfully so. Sometimes as we're speaking - that's what came into my mind.”

Newberger issued a apology Wednesday afternoon.

"I sincerely apologize," he said in a statement. "I recognize my comments last night offended some people. I will work in the future to not repeat this mistake."

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, has not yet publicly responded to Newberger’s statements. A spokeswoman said Wednesday that Daudt spoke with Newberger immediately after Tuesday night's floor session to share his concerns and believes his apologies are appropriate.

 Dayton said leadership should make a public statement, regardless of whether Newberger backtracked.

“I think leadership in the House should make a strong statement that it’s totally unacceptable. It’s disgraceful.” Dayton said. “I don’t know the technical terms of sanctions in the House but somebody in House leadership ought to stand up and say publicly that is absolutely out of line and unacceptable and has no place in the Minnesota House or anywhere else.”

State Senate backs $893K for avian flu response, but dispute emerges

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: April 21, 2015 - 2:58 PM

The Minnesota Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved $893,000 in emergency state funds to respond to the avian flu outbreak, although a political squabble over a non-related provision attached to the legislation by the DFL's Senate majority may slow down distribution of the money. 

The House passed the avian flu money on Thursday. It's divided into two pots: $514,000 for the state Department of Agriculture, and $379,000 for the state Board of Animal Health. 

"There is some urgency," Sen. Kevin Dahle, DFL-Northfield, said Tuesday during Senate debate.

Dahle noted that the number of Minnesota turkey farms affected by the outbreak has been rising; it most recently was tallied at 28 farms in 14 counties. Minnesota is the nation's largest turkey producer. 

However, a day earlier in Senate Finance Committee, DFL senators attached a provision that would move up a yearly date on which the Minnesota Management and Budget office reports the size of the state's budget reserve to legislators. Backers said it's meant to give lawmakers more time to prepare for the legislative session and the scope of  resources available. 

On Monday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt released a statement saying he did not want unrelated measures attached to the avian flu money. "The legislature has a tradition of not adding unrelated provisions to disaster relief and emergency response bills," Daudt said. 

That makes a House-Senate conference committee on the bill likely, meaning a likely delay of several days in getting the bill to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature. At a news conference Tuesday just ahead of the Senate action, Dayton praised lawmakers for acting quickly on the measure. 

GOP senators warned in Tuesday's floor debate that the provision added by Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, would slow down the progress of the avian flu money. DFL senators united to defeat a GOP amendment to remove the unrelated measure. 

"This provision you're talking about has nothing to do with avian flu," said Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie. Neglecting to strip it out "will delay disaster relief to the farmers of this state." 

House GOP wants new income tax exemption, elimination of statewide property tax

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: April 20, 2015 - 12:02 PM

House Republicans unveiled about $2 billion in tax cuts on Monday, a package that GOP leaders said would lower taxes for more than 2 million Minnesotans through a new state personal or dependent exemption. 

Tax cuts are a top priority of the new GOP majority in the House, and the personal or dependent exemption is the centerpiece of their tax omnibus bill. It's estimated to cost the state $539 million in lost tax revenue over two years. 

"Our priority in this tax relief package is clear: middle-class Minnesota families," said House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers. She said the exemption could save a middle-class family of four $500 over the next two years. 

The GOP also proposes elimination of the statewide general property tax, which is paid by corporations and businesses. That would cost the state $453 million in two years of lost revenue. The GOP bill doles out smaller tax cuts in a number of other areas, from a tax credit on student loan payments, to a reduction in the estate tax, to tax incentives for research and development. 

The personal or dependent tax exemption would be a one-time benefit, and would expire after two years. The elimination of the business property tax would be permanent. 

House DFL leaders criticized the proposal as too focused on tax cuts for business owners. "With a $2 billion surplus and growing economy, we should embrace this chance to create more opportunity for all Minnesotans to get ahead," said House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis. 

Gov. Mark Dayton and the Senate DFL majority have proposed far less in tax cuts than the House GOP, although the Republican plan does incorporate some tax cuts requested by Dayton, including tax credits geared toward school expenses.

A detailed overview of the GOP tax bill can be found here

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