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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State Senate defeats move to restrict transgender student bathroom, locker room use at high schools

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: April 29, 2015 - 5:41 PM

The state Senate defeated a move Wednesday to repeal a Minnesota High School League policy that allows transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms that don't match their sex at birth. 

The GOP-led House of Representatives passed an identical provision on Saturday, attaching it to an education policy bill on an unrecorded voice vote. But the DFL-controlled Senate voted it down 40-25 during debate on its own education policy measure. 

Last December, the Minnesota High School League adopted a policy that opens up transgender student-athletes to participate in girls' sports. State law already lets female students participate in boys' sports. Since then, the Minnesota Family Council and other socially conservative groups have pushed for the locker and bathroom prohibitions. 

"I believe, and believe parents believe, that biologically female students should not have to worry about a biological young man sharing their locker room or bathroom," said Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove. "Nor should our daughters be put in a position of sharing a locker room or bathroom with a bunch of adolescent young men."

But Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said such a prohibition would increase the stigma facing transgender students, and expose them to greater discrimination and physical violence. 

"Gender identity is not a matter of choice or amenable to change," Dibble said. 

The vote on the amendment fell largely along party lines, but with several crossovers. Sen. Lyle Koenen, DFL-Clara City, joined most Republicans in backing it. Three GOP senators -- Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen, and Carla Nelson and Dave Senjem of Rochester -- voted against it. 

"This amendment makes me incredibly sad because it targets so very few Minnesotans," Ortman said. "I encourage members to be brave and vote no."

Since the House backed the measure, it will be up for debate in final House-Senate negotiations over the education policy bill. Gov. Mark Dayton has spoken in favor of the High School League policy, and has been critical of what he has called attempts to demonize transgender students. 

MN Senate DFL tax bill much smaller than House

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: April 27, 2015 - 1:02 PM

A bill to pay back budget shifts and give modest tax relief to property owners and businesses that hire veterans was released by the Senate DFL today. 

The $460 million price tag is far apart from the Republican-controlled House, which has outlined a plan for $2 billion in tax cuts for business, Social Security recipients, military retirees, people with student loans a host of other interest groups. 

The Senate plan would use $225 million to pay back accounting shifts that occured during tough budget years. 

The plan would provide about $200 million in tax relief, much of it directed at property taxpayers, either through direct cuts or by increasing local government aid, which could give local governments the ability to hold down taxes. 

The Senate plan would also spend $47 million during the next two years on a tax credit for businesses that hire veterans. 

The Senate Taxes Committee will take up the bill Tuesday. 

Hot Dish morning newsletter

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: April 27, 2015 - 9:52 AM

Three weeks left, if all goes well

Good morning. Wild advance and three weeks until the 2015 legislative session ends, assuming the House and Senate can come to an agreement and Gov. Mark Dayton signs on.

Senate Taxes Chairman Rod Skoe introduces his omnibus tax bill today. It will contrast sharply with the House plan. Senate in session at noon. House at 3:30. Full schedule.

Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith meet with Canadian Governor General (?) David Johnston. Dayton has an emergency meeting of the Executive Council at 3:00 for bird flu that’s open press. Then he makes remarks at 6:30 for the opening of the Olympus Brooklyn Park (Olympus, 9600 Louisiana Ave North, Brooklyn Park.)

An oft-quoted statistic that by 2018 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require post-secondary education is flat wrong, Adam Belz reports. It’s way too high. It’s a number that gets thrown around the Capitol a lot.

Schools scrambling to get ready for new mandatory ACT. On April 28, 64,000 juniors will sit for the exam, Erin Adler reports.

Former Minneapolis City Council policy aide recording the stories of the transgendered, Erin Golden reports.

House GOP passed their education budget Saturday, and Ricardo Lopez was there.

Over the weekend, Pat Condon looked at the much touted Republican rural agenda and finds gaps in the budget plan.

RSB and Montgomery mention the unmentionable: A possible shutdown.

Washington and beyond

AP: Clinton Foundation acknowledges missteps in donor disclosure.

Roll Call: Comcast failed acquisition a win for Franken. 

Times on the White House Correspondents’ dinner. Gross.

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."

Wisconsin Gov. Walker to speak at private Edina gathering

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: April 22, 2015 - 4:31 PM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be in Edina Thursday night speaking to a group of influential conservatives, but he is not making any public appearances. 

Walker is the featured speaker at the annual spring dinner of the Freedom Club of Minnesota at Interlachen Country Club. The group's departing president, Brandon Sawalich, said the invitation was issued months ago before Walker started actively exploring a 2016 presidential bid. 

 

"He's going to come and speak," said Sawalich, a senior vice president at Starkey Technologies. "It's not a fundraiser." 

Walker has not yet formally announced a presidential campaign, but he is widely expected to jump into the 2016 fray. Republican insiders view Walker as a serious contender after his eventful first term as governor, where he survived a recall attempt amid his successful efforts to constrain the power of organized labor in Wisconsin. 

Sawalich said the Freedom Club of Minnesota has about 80 members. The group was founded by Bob Cummins, a Minnesota technology entrepreneur who has been a major donor to Republican and conservative causes. 

The Associated Press reported that Walker would also be meeting privately on Thursday with Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and other Republican lawmakers. 

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