Tom Bakk

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Final Vote Coming For Bill Altering Commissioner Raises

A bill that temporarily halts salary increases for Gov. Mark Dayton’s cabinet is being staged for final legislative votes as soon as Thursday.

02/25/2015

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After Falling Out, Dayton And Bakk Try To Patch Things Up

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says he and Gov. Mark Dayton had a private chat where the Capitol’s two most powerful Democrats committed to moving on after a public feud.

02/25/2015

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Capitol Leaders In Talks About Way Out On Pay-Raise Standoff

House Speaker Kurt Daudt says he, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk are “nearing agreement” on a plan to settle a commissioner pay raise dispute that is holding up an important spending bill. Daudt said Wednesday they hope to strike a deal in time for House consideration on Thursday. Bakk confirmed the talks but said any agreement would likely be subject to a review by a joint House-Senate conference committee.

02/18/2015

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Calmer Tone Heard From Dayton, Bakk In Dispute Over Salaries

Last week’s confrontation over Minnesota agency commissioner pay gave way Monday to a calmer tone between two key Democrats in the middle of it, Gov. Mark Dayton and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk.

02/16/2015

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Talking Points: Health Dept. Head Talks Commissioner Pay Raises

More drama is expected this week at the Capitol as both Republicans and Democrats battle Gov. Mark Dayton over his awarding his commissioners large pay raises.

02/15/2015

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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 Cries Foul On Move To Delay Commissioner Raises

Gov. Mark Dayton is objecting to the state Senate’s vote to delay hefty raises for members of the governor’s cabinet. The Senate voted 63-2 Thursday to suspend the pay hikes Dayton granted to commissioners last month.

02/12/2015

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Bakk: Pass New Money For Roads This Year Or Punt To 2017

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk is cranking up the pressure to pass a major transportation package this year. The Cook Democrat said Thursday he thinks the Legislature will punt until at least 2017 if lawmakers fail this session to pass new funding for roads and bridges.

01/29/2015

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Office Space Disputes Threaten Capitol Renovation

Minnesota lawmakers are caught in a dust-up over office space at the State Capitol, and it’s threatening to delay the massive Capitol restoration now underway. The three-year, $272 million project is on time and on budget. But the tenants in the new building — including the governor, the Senate, the House and the attorney general — cannot come to agreement over how much space they will control.

01/14/2015

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How Will Lawmakers Spend The $1 Billion Surplus?

Minnesota lawmakers kicked off the new session Thursday with a sweeping package of unusual legislative priorities.

01/08/2015

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Things To Know As Lawmakers Return

An altered power structure, new faces, old fights and an unrecognizable Capitol building will shape the Legislature’s 2015 session.

01/04/2015

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Lottery Boss Wants Less Left To Chance At Capitol

Armed with sales statistics tailored for each legislative district, the Minnesota Lottery chief is paying visits to lawmakers as he attempts to repair strained relationships and head off another showdown over tickets sold on the Internet, through automated cash-machines and at gas station pumps.

12/21/2014

money, cash, 20s, dollar bills, generic

Leaders Urge Caution On Spending State Budget Surplus

Talk of tax cuts has followed word that Minnesota’s budget will run up a $1 billion surplus. Top Democrats and Republicans separately raised the prospect Thursday of giving tax breaks with a portion of the surplus. The first dose could come soon in the next session as lawmakers weigh whether to match up Minnesota’s deductions and credits more closely with those at the federal level.

12/04/2014

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Dayton, Daudt Pledge Cooperation For New Legislative Term

Minnesota’s top two political leaders met face to face Thursday for the first time since the election. They’re pledging cooperation, not division. Minnesota’s top two political leaders met face to face Thursday for the first time since the election. They’re pledging cooperation, not division. Over a luncheon of pork loin and potatoes, the Republican Speaker and Democratic Governor met face to face at the official Residence.

11/20/2014

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House Dems Approve Scaled-Back Senate Building

Top Democrats in the State House Friday approved a scaled-back version of a major new office building next to the Capitol, dedicated to the Minnesota Senate. The building’s original design had a soaring glass front, with a fitness center and reflecting pool. The scaled back version is slightly more modest, but no less controversial.

04/04/2014

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Talking Points: Democrats Fight Themselves Over New Senate Building

This legislative session has stalled out with battles over a proposed $90 million Senate office building and a proposed minimum wage increase. But the battle is not between Republicans and Democrats – it’s the Democrats who are fighting amongst themselves. With Democrats controlling the Minnesota House and Senate as well as the governor’s office, it’s the Democrats who are battling with each other over key issues.

03/30/2014

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New Senate Office Building Sparks Controversy

An expensive office building for lawmakers at the Capitol is facing new scrutiny. The four-story glass, steel and stone complex would sit across the street from the Capitol, and include offices for 45 of Minnesota’s 67 state senators. But the cost and design are raising eyebrows, even from supporters like Gov. Mark Dayton, who called the project “overly lavish.”

03/19/2014

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Minn. Senate Plans Tax Relief Vote On Thursday

Leaders of the Minnesota Senate say they hope to pass a $434 million tax relief measure on Thursday, though it’s not clear if differences with a House version will delay its path to Gov. Mark Dayton.

03/18/2014

(credit: Minnesota State Lottery)

Lottery’s Venture Into Online Sales Fuels Backlash

A month after instant “scratch-off” Minnesota Lottery ticket sales went live on the Internet, the pioneering venture faces a high-powered threat at the Capitol. The Senate leaders of both parties and tax committee heads in both chambers are seeking a one-sentence change in state law to permanently turn off the new portal for gambling. Among other issues, lawmakers are upset that lottery officials introduced the games without seeking their approval through explicit legislation allowing it.

03/14/2014

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Minn. Lawmakers Recruit Big-Time Sporting Events

Minnesota’s bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl has led to discussions about potential tax breaks. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders were meeting privately Wednesday about tax changes that could be needed to land football’s premier game. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has said previously that the league expects cities that host the championship game will exempt player salaries from the income tax and lift taxes on game tickets.

03/12/2014

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Senators Backs Higher Bar For Voter Amendments

Proposed amendments to Minnesota’s Constitution would be less frequent under a proposal backed by a state Senate committee. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk told the Senate State Government Committee Monday that it should be harder to change the state constitution.

03/03/2014

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Top Minn. Legislators Pledge Boost In Minimum Wage

Democrats who lead the Minnesota Legislature left no doubt Wednesday that a minimum wage increase of some kind will prevail in the upcoming session.

02/19/2014

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Minn. Senate Leader: Rebate Checks ‘Unlikely’

Don’t count on a sales tax rebate check like the ones that became popular in prior years Minnesota ran a budget surplus. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said Monday that it’s unlikely his chamber would go that route if there are extra dollars for lawmakers to allocate next year. A forecast last week showed $825 million available but a new report will come out as lawmakers return in late February. The Democrat from Cook says his preference is to add more money to the state’s budget reserves, consider transportation investments and make other tax and spending decisions that don’t have a lasting budget impact.

12/09/2013

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Dayton Wants 2014 Focus On Undoing Minn. Laws

In Gov. Mark Dayton’s ideal scenario, the focus for next year’s Minnesota legislative session will be on pruning old, unneeded laws from the books. Dayton has been collecting ideas from the public and his administrative agencies for the so-called unsession. He has said his inspiration for an unsession came from a 1970s-era advertising slogan for 7-Up that billed the soft drink as the “uncola.”

10/21/2013

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Minn. Lawmakers: Special Session May Not Be Needed

Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders agreed Friday that Sept. 9 is the date they would hold a possible special session, but also said it might not be necessary after all.

08/16/2013

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