Minnesota lawmakers opened their 2014 session this week, a session the governor has said he hopes will be the "un-session." We'll talk with 3 veteran political reporters about what they expect will transpire at the Capitol in the weeks to come.
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A minimum wage increase was expected to pass last year under the DFL-controlled Legislature, but House and Senate negotiators ran out of time before they could reach a compromise. The House had passed a bill to increase the hourly rate to $9.50, while the Senate passed a $7.75 measure. (MPR News)
Dayton has already dubbed 2014 the "unsession," because he wants legislators to spend much of their time eliminating old, outdated state laws rather than adding new ones. He's been collecting suggestions on what to get rid of, as well as ideas for making government better, faster and simpler.
Dayton has often said his inspiration for an unsession came from a 1970s-era advertising slogan for 7-Up that billed the soft drink as the "uncola." (MPR News)
In selecting Smith, Dayton has chosen a powerful deal-maker who has led the administration through some of it is most complex, high profile and politically dicey development projects of this term. Smith took a guiding role in the effort to build a new Minnesota Viking stadium and a multibillion-dollar, state-backed expansion of Mayo Clinic in Rochester. (Star Tribune)
A federal judge has sternly warned the Legislature to change the sex offender program or face a court-ordered intervention.
"The time for legislative action is now," U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank wrote in his Thursday order. "The politicians of this great state must now ask themselves if they will act to revise a system that is clearly broken, or stand idly by and do nothing, simply awaiting court intervention." (Mankato Free Press)