Pat Kessler

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Costs Of Major Minnesota Capitol Renovation Creeping Up

A major renovation of the state Capitol is threatening to run $30 million over budget, state officials advised lawmakers Friday. Documents released to a commission overseeing the overhaul show the extra costs stem from water damage repairs, security improvements and other costs. Those overruns would increase the total cost by about 10 percent, to more than $300 million.

03/27/2015

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Dayton, Lawmakers Say No Public Money Should Go Toward Soccer Stadium

One day after Major League Soccer awarded a new franchise to Minnesota, the governor said the owners should not expect public financing for a new stadium.

03/26/2015

Brew, Bottles, Booze, Alcohol,

The Sunday Liquor Sales Ban Won’t Be Lifted This Year

Supporters of legalizing Sunday liquor store sales in Minnesota may have to put a cork in it this year.

03/25/2015

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House Budget Calls For Tax Cuts, Slimming On Human Services

Minnesota’s top Republican leaders proposed Tuesday a budget that includes $2 billion in tax cuts.

03/24/2015

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Minnesota Republicans Stake Out $7B Plan For Roads, Bridges

Gov. Mark Dayton says he considers a $7 billion Republican plan for road construction a step forward in terms of scope, but he’s less enthusiastic about how it would be paid for. Dayton reacted Monday to the GOP’s legislative alternative to his multi-billion dollar transportation proposal.

03/23/2015

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2 Bills To Fix MNsure Pass Capitol Committees

Minnesota’s health care exchange, MNsure, is under fire at the Capitol. Two committees approved bills on Wednesday that make drastic changes to MNsure, including abolishing the health care exchange completely.

03/18/2015

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Dayton Ups Recommendations For Tax Relief, School Spending

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proposed spending nearly all of the state’s $1.9 billion dollar budget surplus on Tuesday. Gov. Dayton outlined a series of new spending programs on children, education and families.

03/17/2015

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Minn. Lawmakers Debate Regulations For Police Body Cameras

Minnesota lawmakers are struggling to regulate new technology allowing police to wear body cameras and record everyday contacts with the public. The use of body cams is growing rapidly on police forces across the country, including Minnesota. It’s raising questions about when, and how, they can be used.

03/13/2015

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Gov. Dayton Responds To Email Criticism

Gov. Mark Dayton doesn’t use a state government email account. He uses his personal AOL account only for public, political and personal business. “It’s been simpler for 15 years to just be able to do it straightforward. I pay the cost and there’s no question about whether I’m using government property for personal or political purpose.

03/12/2015

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Patient’s Nurse Attack Leads To Legislation At Capitol

The Ramsey County Attorney’s office says no charges will be filed against police who struggled with a hospital patient who died after he attacked nurses in November.

03/11/2015

(credit: Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota)

Gov. Dayton Uses Personal Email For Work

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has never used a state government email account provided to all state employees. He uses only one address — a personal account on AOL.com. In fact, it’s the same AOL account he set up 15 years ago.

03/11/2015

(credit: Minnesota legislature)

MN GOP Rolls Out Surplus Refund Ad Campaign

A new state Republican Party television ad is advocating a full return of Minnesota’s $1.87 billion projected surplus to taxpayers, which is more than majority House Republicans have embraced. Party Chairman Keith Downey framed the “give it all back” rallying cry as a starting point.

03/10/2015

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Bill Would Allow Liquor Sales Before 10 A.M. Sundays

A House committee on Wednesday is revisiting a century-old law forbidding the sale of liquor before 10 a.m. on Sundays.

03/04/2015

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MN Lawmaker Lures WI Businesses Over ‘Right-To-Work’ Bill

A Minnesota Republican lawmaker is getting in the middle of Wisconsin’s “right-to-work” debate. Republican Gov. Scott Walker says he’ll sign the bill when it reaches his desk, which would make union membership voluntary.

03/03/2015

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GOP Bill Taking Aim At Teacher Seniority Nears Vote

Minnesota lawmakers are preparing to vote this week on a top Republican priority that could affect every school in the state.

The bill would allow school districts to lay off ineffective teachers even if they have union seniority and classroom tenure.

03/02/2015

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Dayton Signs Bill Retracting Commissioner Raises For Now

Minnesota lawmakers voted Thursday to cut the paychecks of more than two dozen state commissioners. That’s after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton passed out pay hikes to all 26 members of his cabinet, causing intense political controversy. Some of the raises were as high as $35,000.

02/26/2015

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Should Lawmakers Limit Police Use Of License Plate Images?

Right now, police departments scan and keep millions of license plate images for future investigations.

02/25/2015

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Dayton Questions Termination Of UMD Hockey Coach

On Tuesday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton added his name to a list of state lawmakers protesting the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s decision to terminate the contract of the women’s hockey coach.

02/24/2015

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Deal Stalls Agency Leader Salary Hike, Grants Lawmaker Power

The Minnesota House has endorsed a deal that stalls commissioner pay hikes until June but gives Gov. Mark Dayton a narrow window to boost those salaries.

02/19/2015

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Auditor: MNsure’s ‘Failures Outweighed Its Achievements’

A lack of adequate testing before the state’s health insurance exchange launched in 2013 and other issues meant the exchange’s “failures outweighed its achievements” in its first year, the legislative auditor concluded in a report released Tuesday.

02/17/2015

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Dayton Enraged By DFL Move To Suspend Pay Raises

The hefty pay hikes proposed for Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet were already controversial when the State Senate met on Thursday. But it was Dayton’s fellow Democrats who voted to suspend the raises until July 1. “That will give the legislature time I think to put the kind of thoughtful review into the study and the salary to make sure that it indeed is warranted,” Sen. Tom Bakk said.

02/12/2015

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Dayton, Republicans At Odds Over Cabinet Raises

Gov. Mark Dayton regards stinging criticism from legislative Republican over his raises for agency commissioners as being done out of revenge. Dayton lashed out Wednesday over the GOP’s attention to recently announced raises, which were authorized by lawmakers in 2013.

02/11/2015

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Dayton Asks For $10M To Replace Aging Aircraft

Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants to replace two aging aircraft that serve as Minnesota’s official state planes.

The Democratic governor is asking the legislature for $10 million dollars to replace them, because he says the current planes are becoming dangerous.

02/10/2015

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Are Massive Raises For Dayton’s Cabinet ‘Outrageous’?

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is giving members of his Cabinet a big payday: They’re getting double-digit raises totalling tens of thousands of dollars.

02/05/2015

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Reality Check: The Price Of Not Buying Health Insurance

Minnesotans have until Feb. 15 to sign up for health care insurance or pay a tax penalty. And this year, that penalty could really sting. According to MNsure, the state’s health care exchange, the 2015 penalty for not buying insurance coverage is:

02/04/2015

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