Minnesota lawmakers return to the Capitol Tuesday for the start of an election-year legislative session, and much of their early attention will be on a minimum wage increase and taxes.
Zellers is one of six GOP candidates trying to unseat DFL incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton this fall. He plans to run in the August primary.
Supporters of Legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Minnesota are considering a new approach for the 2014 session, and the potential changes are winning the backing of some law enforcement groups.
The issue is a leftover from last year's session, when DFL legislative leaders couldn't reach a compromise before they adjourned. The House had passed a bill to increase the hourly rate to $9.50, while the Senate passed a $7.75 measure.
Lawmakers have been talking about the need for a healthier reserve since the November economic forecast showed the state headed for an $825 million budget surplus. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants much of the surplus used to repeal three business taxes passed last session.
Dayton's proposal follows a report this week from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid that showed 46 Minnesota school districts have policies to deny lunches to students who can't pay.
GOP officials conducted nonbinding straw polls Tuesday night during precinct caucuses. Those neighborhood meetings are the starting point for parties to endorse candidates. But this year several GOP candidates in both contests have said they plan to run in the August primary, with or without the party endorsement.
With the start of an election year legislative session just three weeks away, the leaders in the Minnesota House debated a proposed minimum wage increase and other issues at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School on Monday.
A new legislative report is proposing an enhanced role for the state Board of Pharmacy to help combat synthetic drug problems.
Dayton was scheduled to leave Friday and meet with NFL officials. But Dayton's office announced this afternoon that he will remain in Minnesota for an emergency meeting of state's Executive Council on Friday afternoon.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, declined repeated interview requests for a week and a half after revealing that he was stopped by police during a truck-buying trip to Montana in September. A disagreement with the seller resulted in Daudt's friend allegedly pulling a handgun owned by Daudt. His friend was later arrested.
Dayton also questioned the tradition of hanging portraits of former governors lining the walls inside the Capitol. So far, all the state's governors have been white males. Dayton said he doesn't see the relevance of the portraits.
Gov. Mark Dayton released a $986 million plan for public works construction projects today.
Minnesota DFL Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon said Tuesday she will not seek re-election. Gov. Mark Dayton made it known months ago that he was seeking a second-term, but his 2010 running mate has not made the same commitment.
The Minnesota Job Creation Fund is designed to aid businesses willing to expand operations and hire new workers.