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Entrepreneur Credits Trade Missions for Advancing Albertville Project

Posted on January 20, 2016 at 5:28 PM


Mall of Entertainment Project Will Create 2,000 Jobs

ST. PAUL – A partner in the $115 million Mall of Entertainment project in Albertville says relationships that he built on three Minnesota trade missions were instrumental in helping to make the project a reality. 


Minnetonka businessman Kevin Hanson participated in trade missions led by Gov. Mark Dayton to China in 2012; Germany, Sweden and Norway in 2013; and Mexico in 2015. 



Hanson says his association with the trade missions and the governor gave him the credibility and support that he needed to find investors and finalize a dream team of partners for the Albertville project. 



Gov. Dayton expressed support for the project, saying, “This is a good project for construction jobs, for permanent jobs and for family entertainment. I am pleased to learn that the state's trade missions helped establish and build the relationships that will make this project a reality." 



“All of this would not have been possible without the governor’s support,” Hanson added. “The relationship with the state of Minnesota has been very synergistic.” 



The 300,000-square-foot Mall of Entertainment project will include a high-tech, interactive and virtual reality experience featuring themed attractions based on films produced by Sony Pictures. Visitors will be able to participate in activities related to hit Sony movies such as “Ghostbusters,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “Hotel Transylvania.” 



A 275-room Marriott Hotel and convention center, 50,000-square-foot water park and other entertainment attractions also are planned. 



The project will be co-developed by Sony Pictures Consumer Products and a group called Black Forest LLC, which includes Los Angeles-based iP2Entertainment along with Hanson and other business partners. 

Hanson said International Creative Capital is the finance arm of the project. 

Hanson said the Mall of Entertainment will create more than 2,000 jobs, including construction jobs. Officials expect to break ground this summer and open the complex in late 2017.


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The State of Minnesota is Strong

Posted on January 13, 2016 at 1:20 PM


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Yesterday, ahead of President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, Politico released its third annual analysis on “The States of our Union.” For the third straight year, Politico ranked Minnesota one of the two strongest states in the nation. 

Politico’s annual analysis is based on 15 separate categories that demonstrate the educational attainment, quality of life, and economic health of each of the 50 states. Ranking overall as the 2nd-strongest state in the nation, here is how Minnesota scored in each category, according to Politico.

Annual Per Capita Income – At $31,642, Minnesota’s per capita income is the 10th-highest in the nation. Median household income in Minnesota is $61,481, which is also the 10th-highest in the nation.

Percent Unemployed – At 3.5 percent, Minnesota’s statewide unemployment rate is the 7th-lowest in the nation. But communities of color and some other pockets of Minnesota’s workforce are still experiencing higher levels of unemployment.

Percent Below Poverty Level – Minnesota ranks 8th-lowest for the percent of those living below the poverty level. According to Politico’s analysis, 11.2 percent of Minnesotans are living below the poverty level – which is still far too many Minnesotans.

Homeownership Rate – With 71.7 percent of Minnesotans owning their own homes, Minnesota ranks 2nd in this category. 

High School Graduation Rate – Minnesota ranks 2nd, only behind Alaska, for the percent of our students (92.6 percent) who graduate from high school.

Life Expectancy at Birth – Minnesotans live longer than almost anyone else in the country. With a life expectancy of 81.1 at birth, Minnesota ranks 2nd in the nation in this category. Hawaiians live just three months longer, on average, than Minnesotans.

Infant Mortality – Minnesota ranked 15th-lowest in the number of infant deaths per 1,000 births. Read what the Minnesota Department of Health is doing to improve the health of mothers and babies, and reduce the incidence of infant mortality in our state.

Obesity – Roughly 24.8 percent of Minnesotans are considered obese, ranking us the 9th-slimmest state in the nation. Read what the Minnesota Department of Health is doing to prevent and reduce obesity.

Wellbeing – Minnesota has a wellbeing score of 62.8, ranking us 9th in this category.

Average Math Scores in 8th Grade – Minnesota 8th Graders have the 6th-highest math scores in the country.

Average Reading Scores in 8th Grade – Minnesota 8th Graders have the 6th-highest reading scores in the country.

Income Inequality – According to the GINI Index, which measures the income distribution of a state’s residents, Minnesota ranks 13th in the country in income inequality. Given the economic disparities facing Minnesotans of color in particular, Governor Dayton and his administration are working hard to secure economic opportunity for all Minnesotans.

Violent Crime Rate – Minnesotans are the 10th-safest from violent crime, according to Politico’s analysis, and records provided by the FBI.

Jobs in Science, Engineering, and Math – Minnesota has the 7th-highest percentage of our workforce employed in jobs involving science, engineering, and math.

H.L. Mencken’s 1931 Rankings – As a benchmark, Politico lists the rankings of each individual state from a 1931 study by H.L. Mencken and Charles Angoff. According to that study, Minnesota was the 6th-strongest state in the nation in 1931.

LEARN MORE





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Takeda Pharmaceutical Acquires Brooklyn Park Facility

Posted on January 05, 2016 at 3:43 PM

Facility will be company’s first U.S. biologics manufacturing operation

OSAKA, JAPAN, and ST. PAUL, MN – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and among the industry leaders, announced today that it has acquired a biologics manufacturing facility in Brooklyn Park.

The company, which develops and markets medicines for treating cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and other health problems, said the facility primarily will manufacture the prescription medication Entyvio (vedolizumab) and other biologic products. 

Takeda officials said the facility at 9450 Winnetka Ave. N. will allow the company to maximize global efficiencies and further enhance the product’s supply chain flexibility.

“Minnesota is home to an innovative bioscience industry. We rank among the best nationally in the biosciences, generating more patents and jobs on a per capita basis than almost every other state,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Takeda Pharmaceutical Company will be a great addition to our state’s bioscience sector, and we are glad to welcome them to Minnesota.” 

“We are grateful Takeda selected Brooklyn Park for their first U.S. manufacturing operation,” said Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). “This project will enable Takeda to expand its global footprint and further build the Twin Cities’ reputation as one of the country’s leading biotech hubs.” 

“Takeda’s focus is providing patients access to quality therapies,” said Thomas Wozniewski, global manufacturing and supply officer at Takeda. “Acquiring the state-of-the-art Brooklyn Park facility and gaining access to a highly experienced and dedicated team is a very important strategic benefit for Takeda that reinforces and expands upon our global operations for Entyvio and future biologic products.” 

Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeffrey Lunde said, “We are excited that Takeda will join the city’s growing headquarter and manufacturing corridor along Highway 610. Takeda fits into Brooklyn Park’s strategy to attract and retain high-quality jobs.” 

The acquisition will also provide long-term strategic benefits for Takeda through enhanced capacities for the manufacture of additional commercial products and investigational drugs under clinical development. The plant allows Takeda to establish and develop direct commercial bio-manufacturing expertise. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. 
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com

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Minnesota Awards $32 Million in Grants for Transportation Infrastructure Projects Supporting Economic Development, Job Creation

Posted on January 05, 2016 at 3:14 PM


Grants support road, interchange improvements in 11 communities across the state

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ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), in partnership with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), has awarded $32 million in grants for 11 state highway projects that will support growing industry and businesses, leverage private funding, and improve the transportation system for all users. The funding was awarded under the state’s Transportation Economic Development Program (TED).
 
“For every public dollar we invest, Minnesota’s Transportation Economic Development program leverages an additional three dollars in economic development investment,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “These are great projects, but they don't come close to meeting our need for a sustainable, comprehensive solution to Minnesota's transportation challenges.  If we want to grow jobs and our economy, we need a statewide transportation system that works everywhere, for Minnesotans and Minnesota businesses.”
 
“Transportation investments support jobs, create vibrant communities and position businesses for the global economy,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle. “MnDOT’s partnership with DEED and with the business community through the TED program has seen great results in promoting economic development all across the state.”
 
MnDOT and DEED have provided nearly $77 million in grants to 28 communities through the TED program since 2011. Program criteria emphasize improvements that enhance the statewide transportation network, including all modes and all jurisdictional systems, and improvements that allow existing businesses to expand or new businesses to locate near the project area. The TED program also has leveraged more than $119 million from public and private partners that derive a direct benefit from the improvement.  
 
“TED is a great example of a strategic state agency partnership that works to benefit all Minnesotans,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “This program improves the transportation system and generates jobs and economic development throughout the state.”
 
The $32 million provided this year in state TED funds will help leverage other federal, state, local, and private funding for a total construction program of $137 million. State funding for the program comes from trunk highway dollars ($29.7 million) and DEED General Obligation Bonds ($2.3 million).
 
MnDOT and DEED received 22 project proposals to its 2015 solicitation. Eleven proposals came from the Twin Cities metro area and 11 from Greater Minnesota, requesting a total of more than $76 million in funding. Project selection was based on consistency with transportation plans, economic benefits, project financing and project readiness. It’s estimated that the recommended projects will create more than 5,900 jobs in the next five years.
 
All recommended Twin Cities Metro Area projects also have received federal funds under the Metropolitan Council Regional Solicitation Process. TED dollars are generally the last piece of funding needed to move each of the recommended projects toward letting. Construction lettings are scheduled between 2016 and 2018.
 
A map of Greater Minnesota projects is available here: http://www.mn.gov/gov-stat/pdf/2016_01_05_ted2016-statewide.pdf
 
A Twin Cities Metropolitan area project map is available here: http://www.mn.gov/gov-stat/pdf/2016_01_05_ted2016-metro.pdf

A list of 2015 Transportation and Economic Development Project Award recipients is available here: http://mn.gov/gov-stat/pdf/2016_01_05_mndot_ted_program_release.pdf 
 
More information about the selected projects and the TED program is available on MnDOT’s website at www.mndot.gov/funding/ted/index.html.

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After Call from Dayton, Klobuchar, Franken, and Nolan, Department of Labor Approves Trade Adjustment Assistance for Steel Workers and Miners Impacted by Layoffs

Posted on December 16, 2015 at 2:59 PM


Department of Labor approves Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for affected workers at Magnetation; TAA provides training and education benefits and services to these workers
 
Lawmakers urged the Department of Labor to expedite approval of TAA petitions
 
WASHINGTON, DC – Governor Mark Dayton, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Rick Nolan, today announced that the Department of Labor (DOL) has approved Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petitions for steelworkers and miners who have been impacted by recent layoffs at the Magnetation plant. ‎The lawmakers urged the Department of Labor to expedite approval of TAA petitions submitted by workers from the affected mining operations.


“Steelworkers on the Iron Range urgently need help as they endure the serious economic consequences of illegal foreign steel dumping,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I thank Secretary Perez for expediting benefits for laid off steelworkers at Magnetation LLC. But now we need to get to the root of the problem. We look forward to meeting with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough next week to discuss steps the Administration can take to fight back against the illegal dumping of foreign steel.”
 
“The hard-working steelworkers and miners who were affected by recent layoffs on the Iron Range received good news today,” Klobuchar said. “The Department of Labor responded to our call to approve these benefits, and now our Iron Range workers will have the support they need and deserve to help them get back on their feet.”
 
“Minnesota’s iron ore and steel workers are the best in the world,” Franken said. “But right now, many of them are sitting on the sidelines waiting for our mining operations—businesses that closed because of illegal foreign trade practices—to reopen. I’m fighting to improve the Range economy, and in the meantime, I want to make sure that workers who have been laid off can get the support and assistance they need. I’m glad that, at our urging, the Department of Labor is going to ensure that Minnesotans who were hurt by the closing at Magnetation will be eligible for critical training and education benefits.”
 
“We are grateful to the Administration for expediting our request for Trade Adjustment Assistance, as well as to President Obama for sending his Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, to the Range next week so he can report back to the President on how this crisis in our mining and steel industries is affecting our region – as well as our national economy and our national security,” Nolan said. “But first and foremost, we need to get the Iron Range back to work. To do that, we need to get at the heart of the problem, and put a stop to the illegal dumping of millions of tons of low-grade, foreign government-subsidized steel that’s flooding our domestic marketplace, costing us thousands of good-paying jobs and threatening the very existence of our mining and steel industries.”
 
Minnesota’s federal delegation and the Governor have worked together to secure immediate funding for job retraining and educational opportunities for affected Minnesota steel workers and miners. Yesterday, following meetings and discussions with the Governor and Minnesota’s federal delegation, it was announced that the White House is sending Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the President’s top advisor, to the Iron Range on December 22 to discuss the steel crisis directly with affected workers, mining executives, business leaders, and local elected officials. McDonough will report back directly to the President after the meeting.
 
The full text of the letter that Dayton, Klobuchar, Franken, and Nolan sent in November is available below:


Dear Secretary Perez,

We write to request that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) expedite the approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits for recently laid off steelworkers at Magnetation LLC.
 
As you know, Minnesota’s Iron Range has been severely impacted by foreign producers dumping steel in U.S. markets. Over 2,000 mineworkers have been affected by a temporary or indefinite layoff announcement, representing more than 40 percent of the region’s mining workforce. We are grateful these layoffs have been approved for TAA benefits. With hundreds of training plans already on file, this vital program has helped many Minnesotan families avoid financial ruin. 

Earlier this year, DOL approved a number of TAA petitions for various mining companies and facilities. We were disappointed, however, that DOL restricted TAA eligibility to just one of Magnetation’s four sites in Minnesota. As a result of that limitation, the recently announced layoffs at the company’s Bovey plan will leave more than 160 workers without access to TAA benefits – benefits that have long been available to workers at Magnetation’s nearby plant in Keewatin, among others.
 
When the Bovey layoffs begin in February, affected workers will need to know whether they can count on TAA benefits to help them make ends meet and access training programs. To provide that assurance, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) submitted a new TAA petition on November 18, 2015 to provide coverage to all of Magnetation’s Minnesota facilities. We strongly urge DOL to approve this petition and help resolve this unfortunate situation as soon as possible.  
 
Thank you for your help in providing economic certainty to thousands of Minnesota workers suffering from unfair steel dumping practices.

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Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith Welcome Kids Back to School

Posted on September 08, 2015 at 3:05 PM

As first graduates of all-day Kindergarten enter First Grade classrooms, Dayton Administration touts early successes of program across Minnesota

Governor, Lt. Governor continue effort to expand access to preK for all Minnesota children

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ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton, Lt. Governor Tina Smith, and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius today welcomed students back to school at Brimhall Elementary in Roseville. More than 847,000 students are heading back to school across Minnesota, including 58,800 Kindergartners. For the second year, over 99.6 percent of those Kindergartners will attend school all-day, free of charge.

“I wish all Minnesota students and teachers a fun, safe, and successful school year,” said Governor Dayton.

Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith reiterated their shared commitment today to expanding access to preK for all Minnesota four-year-olds, noting that additional investments in the state’s youngest learners are necessary to build on the successes of all-day Kindergarten.

“It was terrific to greet these kids as they came back to school today, and it is clear the first year of all-day kindergarten was a success,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Now it’s our responsibility to build on this success and educate the world’s best workforce, so we can build an economy that works for everyone.”

Successes of All-Day Kindergarten
Thanks to a transformative investment made by Governor Dayton and the 2013 Legislature, over 57,400 students attended free, all-day Kindergarten for the first time last year. In its first year of implementation in 2014, 99.6 percent of Kindergarteners attended school all-day. Before this investment, just 54 percent of Minnesota kids had access to all-day Kindergarten, and many families were forced to pay for all-day access – sometimes as much as $2,500 to $4,200. Thanks to free all-day Kindergarten these families are now saving thousands of dollars. 

“Last year was the first time we provided Minnesota families with access to free, all-day Kindergarten, and the response was overwhelming,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “More children were enrolled in kindergarten than we projected, showing how truly necessary and important this investment was for Minnesotans. By offering kindergarten to every child, at no cost, we are breaking down barriers of access and ensuring every child has a strong foundation that will propel them forward for success in the future. Each year, as more students are able to benefit from this investment, I know we will see achievement gaps continue to close throughout Minnesota."

The academic impact of all-day Kindergarten has been significant. Students who attend Kindergarten all day make faster and more lasting gains in reading and literacy. Students are also better-prepared for first grade and future learning because they have a better understanding of classroom expectations. All-day Kindergarten also provides students more time to learn appropriate behaviors and develop stronger social and emotional skills.

Expanding Access to Pre-Kindergarten
Now that nearly every five-year-old has access to all-day Kindergarten, Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith are focused on expanding access to early learning for all Minnesota four-year-olds. Last session, Governor Dayton proposed investing $343 million in preK, which would have provided access to free preschool for over 47,300 young learners. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith plan to continue their push for that proposal, leading into the 2016 Legislative Session.

Under the Governor’s proposal, an estimated 47,300 students would have access to voluntary, free preK. Within just a few years, an estimated 57,000 four-year-olds statewide would benefit – giving every kid the great start they need to prepare for Kindergarten, and succeed in school and life.

Participation in high-quality pre-kindergarten education programs can dramatically impact the lives of Minnesota children. But right now, Minnesota ranks last out of the 41 states with preK programs for access for four-year-olds. For years, Minnesota has faced persistent achievement gaps affecting students of color and students who live in poverty. But a growing body of research shows that giving kids a great early start is the best strategy to close those gaps, and help all students achieve their greatest potential. 

New Education Investments Made During the 2015 Legislative Session
During the 2015 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $525 million in preK-12 education. The following is a brief synopsis of those new investments.

New Investments in Early Learning – Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested an additional $100 million in early learning initiatives aimed at narrowing achievement gaps and helping young learners prepare for success in school. Those initiatives included:
  • Early Learning Scholarships – An additional $48 million was invested in early learning scholarships, bringing total funding to $104 million for FY2016-17. This will allow thousands of children to access early education and care. Also, $3.5 million was invested in the Parent Aware initiative, which will allow the Quality Rating System to continue and add providers.

  • Expanding Access to Head Start – Head Start promotes school readiness for low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional developments, and by providing families health, educational, nutritional, and other services. An additional $10 million was invested in Head Start last session, providing access to over 1,200 young learners.

  • Community Partnerships – An additional $4 million was invested in the Northside Achievement Zone and Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. Both programs partner with families and communities to permanently close achievement gaps.
Investments in K-12 Schools – Governor Dayton and the Legislature made important new investments in K-12 schools last session, including:
  • More Funding for Every School – An additional $346 million was invested in K-12 schools, bringing the per pupil formula to $6,067 per pupil by 2017. This new funding will help ensure every child receives an excellent education, and the support they need to succeed in school.

  • Helping Kids Read – The Minnesota Reading Corps provides tutors for students who are struggling with their literacy skills. Last session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $3.5 million in the program, helping expand access to serve 2,500 more students.

  • Reducing Test Time – Legislation passed last session reduced the amount of time students are required to spend on testing in school. Schools may now spend no more than 10 hours per school year testing students in grades 1 through 6 on district-wide or school-wide assessments. The limit is 11 hours for students in grades 7 through 12.
Improving School Facilities – An additional $32 million was invested to help school districts provide important maintenance to classrooms and other school facilities.
  • Helping American Indian Students – Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $17.5 million this session for schools serving American Indian students, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. This new funding will help eligible schools develop plans to support academic achievement, decrease the dropout rate, and improve the school climate for American Indian students. It will benefit over 19,000 American Indian students.

  • Supporting English Language Learners – There are over 68,000 Minnesota students for whom English is not their first language. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature extended the number of years schools can serve these students from 5 to 6 years. In 2015, the Governor and Legislature invested another $3 million to extend those services to a total of 7 years per student.


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Statements from Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith on Minnesota ACT Results

Posted on August 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Minnesota students achieve nation’s highest ACT scores for 10 straight years

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, the Minnesota Department of Education announced that Minnesota students have achieved the nation’s highest ACT scores for ten straight years. According to the report, Minnesota high school seniors again outperformed their peers among states in which at least 50 percent of graduates took the test. The following are statements from Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith.

Governor Dayton:

“For the tenth straight year, Minnesota students are Number One in the nation on this important exam. I congratulate our students, teachers, and school administrators for this outstanding achievement.”

Lt. Governor Smith:

“Minnesota high school seniors have outperformed their peers in other states for a decade. This is great news for Minnesota students and schools, but we need to keep improving to achieve our goal of having the world’s best workforce.”


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Governor Dayton Appoints the Honorable Natalie E. Hudson to the Minnesota Supreme Court

Posted on August 18, 2015 at 3:09 PM

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ST. PAUL, MN – Today, during a news conference at the Minnesota Judicial Center, Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of the Honorable Natalie E. Hudson as Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Judge Hudson will replace Associate Justice Alan C. Page, who will be retiring from the Court at the end of August.

Governor Dayton thanked Justice Page for his dedicated service to the State of Minnesota, especially for his service on the Supreme Court, where he has served as Associate Justice since 1993.

“Judge Natalie Hudson has served our state admirably as a member of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and as Assistant Attorney General,” said Governor Dayton. “During her distinguished 13-year tenure on the Court of Appeals, Judge Hudson has authored more than 1,100 written opinions, demonstrating clearly her unique aptitude for ruling on some of the most challenging legal issues facing our state today.

“Judge Hudson will be an outstanding new member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. I have great confidence that she will bring a valuable perspective to the Court, and continue the high standards of excellence, hard work, and fair-mindedness that Justice Page has embodied these last two decades.”

“I am honored and humbled that the Governor has selected me to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Judge Hudson. “I am excited about the opportunity, and it is indeed a privilege to continue to serve the people of Minnesota in this capacity.”

About Natalie E. Hudson
Judge Natalie E. Hudson has served as an at-large judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since her appointment by Governor Ventura in 2002. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, Judge Hudson served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota in the Criminal Appeals and Health Licensing Divisions. 

Judge Hudson earned her B.A. from Arizona State University and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she also served as the Editor-in-Chief for the school’s newspaper.

After completing law school, Judge Hudson was an attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. and Robins, Zelle, Larson & Kaplan. She then spent three years as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at Hamline University School of Law, and was later appointed as the City Attorney for the City of St. Paul. 

Judge Hudson is a member of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division, a Group Leader for the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, and a member of the Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Board. 

Judge Hudson has one son and resides in Roseville with her husband, Reverend Willie Hudson.




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Lt. Governor Smith to Visit Farmfest, Deliver Keynote on Rural Broadband Internet Access

Posted on August 03, 2015 at 1:27 PM

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ST. PAUL, MN – On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Lt. Governor Tina Smith will visit Farmfest and deliver a keynote address on the importance of rural broadband Internet access. While at Farmfest, Lt. Governor Smith also will convene a meeting of the Governor's Rural Broadband Task Force. The following is a statement from Lt. Governor Smith. 

“Broadband in Minnesota’s rural communities is not just nice, it’s necessary. As the world’s population continues to grow, Minnesotans are producing more food, fuel, and fiber to help meet the growing need. Precision agriculture and technology-based solutions are essential tools for farmers as they increase efficiency and maximize production. And these tools require high speed, affordable, reliable broadband internet access.”



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State Health Care Contracting Reforms Save Taxpayers $650 million

Posted on July 28, 2015 at 1:24 PM

State’s first statewide competitive bidding process for managed care saves nearly $450 million; other contract adjustments save an additional $200 million

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ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Lucinda Jesson today announced that Minnesota’s first statewide competitive bidding process for managed care contracts, and other contract adjustments, saved taxpayers nearly $650 million. The savings come from both contracting reform (nearly $450 million) and a contract settle-up provision allowing DHS to recoup unspent health insurance dollars ($200 million). These public programs provide more than 800,000 Minnesotans high-quality health coverage. With today’s savings, the Dayton Administration has implemented cost saving reforms that have resulted in more than $1.65 billion in savings for taxpayers since 2011. 

“Commissioner Jesson deserves tremendous credit for her outstanding leadership in securing competitive contracts that provide better health care for Minnesotans, while saving taxpayers money" said Governor Mark Dayton.

The Dayton Administration launched the state’s first ever competitive bidding process for managed care contracts in 2011, which, along with other managed care reforms, saved taxpayers more than $1 billion dollars. That first competitive bidding process included only the seven county metro. In 2014, the state competitively bid an additional 27 counties. In 2015, all 87 counties were competitively bid. 

In 2011, five managed care organizations (MCOs) were awarded competitive contracts worth $4 billion to cover enrollees in the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) and MinnesotaCare programs. Today, DHS is expanding these competitive contracts to continue to deliver higher quality health care at about 15% lower cost compared to 2015. The contracts will be awarded after a competitive bidding process that evaluated proposals on cost, quality of care, innovation in care delivery, and other technical components.

“The competitive bidding process is about getting the best value for taxpayers and our enrollees, and that is exactly what this procurement accomplished,” said Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “In addition to hundreds of millions in taxpayer savings our enrollees will have more choice as well as high performing plans from which to choose.”

Competitive bidding provides incentives for MCOs to innovate and produce the lowest cost, highest quality proposals. Each MCO went through a rigorous bidding process that evaluated proposals based on network adequacy, quality measures, technical scores, and operations capabilities. Past experience has shown that MCOs with unsuccessful bids one year may return to the process with a more competitive proposal in the next round of competitive bidding. 

Contracts will be awarded on a county-by-county basis, with generally two plans options for enrollees in every Minnesota county, and three plans in each county within the 7-county metro area. In most counties Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees will have the opportunity to choose from the same set of plans. This statewide procurement will provide greater choice to enrollees by offering more plans to choose from in 23 counties. The new contracts will take effect on January 1st 2016. The winning MCOs and the number of counties awarded for each program are:

 

Medical Assistance

MinnesotaCare

Blue Plus

73

77

HealthPartners

33

33

Medica

45

55

PrimeWest

13

13

Itasca Medical Care

1

1

South Country Health Alliance

1

1

Hennepin Health

1

1


At the end of 2013, DHS and the MCOs agreed to contracts based on the projected health care needs of new enrollees in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare in 2014. The contract change, called an “acuity adjustment” accounted for the uncertainty in patient health costs, movement between programs, and increased enrollment in coverage driven by the Affordable Care Act. This one-time, year-end “acuity adjustment” was built into the contract to ensure payments align with the actual illness level of enrollees post-Affordable Care Act. Final data on the health status of new enrollees showed that Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees were much healthier than anticipated. As a result, the final rates have been reduced by roughly $200 million and these savings will be split between the state and federal government. 

Attachments:


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New Investments in E-12 Education Take Effect Today

Posted on July 01, 2015 at 9:37 AM

E-12 Education investments will improve student achievement, make additional investments in early learning

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Governor Dayton visits with students at Westview Elementary in Apple Valley.

ST. PAUL, MN – During the 2015 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature made important new investments in E-12 education. Many of those new investments take effect today, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The $525 million investment enacted this year will increase funding for every Minnesota classroom, improve early learning opportunities, improve literacy, and provide needed new resources for American Indian education and English language learners. New school funding enacted this session is directed toward strategies proven to help close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and improve career and college readiness.

“This year, we made important new investments in education that will improve educational opportunities for students across Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “We have a lot more work to do to close achievement gaps in Minnesota, and provide excellent educations for every student. I will remain fiercely committed to that important work in the years ahead.”

“We have made significant progress in our work to provide an excellent education to every child in Minnesota,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “The investments in our youngest learners, in our American Indian students and in our students learning English will help us to further reduce achievement gaps and prepare kids for career and college.”

The following is a summary of new education investments made this session, and the impact those investments will have on Minnesota students, families, and teachers.

Investing in Early Learning
  • Expanding Early Learning Scholarships – Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested an additional $48 million in early learning scholarships this session, bringing total funding for the FY16-17 biennium to $104 million. These funds will allow low-income families in all Minnesota counties with young children to access high quality early education and care. The Governor and Legislature also invested $3.5 million in the Parent Aware initiative, which will allow the Quality Rating System to continue to add providers.

  • Expanding Access to Head Start – Head Start promotes school readiness for low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional developments, and by providing their families health, educational, nutritional, and other services. Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $10 million in Head Start this session, providing access to an additional 1,200 young learners.

  • Investing in Community Partnerships – The Governor and Legislature invested $4 million in community partnerships that will provide wrap-around services to families and children in the Northside Achievement Zone and Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. Both programs partner with families and the community to permanently close achievement gaps.
Investing in K-12 Schools 
  • More Funding for Every School – Governor Dayton and the Legislature increased the basic per pupil funding formula by $346 million over the next two years, bringing the formula to $6,067 per pupil by 2017. This new funding will help ensure every Minnesota child receives an excellent education, and the support they need to succeed in school.

  • Helping Kids Read – The Minnesota Reading Corps connects trained tutors with students who are struggling with their literacy skills. This session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested an additional $3.5 million in the program, helping expand the program to serve 2,500 more students.

  • Reducing Testing Time – Governor Dayton and the Legislature placed limits on the amount of time students are required to spend on testing in school. Schools may now spend no more than 10 hours per school year testing students in grades 1 through 6 on districtwide or school-wide assessments. For students in grades 7 through 12, the limit is 11 hours. A district may exceed this limit if an agreement is reached with its teachers to do so, and public notice is provided.

  • Improving School Facilities – The Governor and Legislature invested $32 million to help school districts statewide provide important maintenance to classrooms and other school facilities.
Investing in American Indian Students and English Language Learners
  • Helping American Indian Students – Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $17.5 million this session in schools that serve American Indian students, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. This new funding will help eligible schools develop plans to support academic achievement, decrease the dropout rate, and improve the school climate for American Indian students. This historic investment will benefit over 19,000 American Indian students across Minnesota. 

  • Supporting English Language Learners – There are over 68,000 students in Minnesota for whom English is not their first language. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature extended the number of years schools can serve these students from 5 to 6 years. This year, the Governor and Legislature invested $3 million to extend those services to a total of 7 years per student – giving them the educations and support they need to succeed in school and life.


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First Steps For Better Water Quality Start Today in Minnesota

Posted on July 01, 2015 at 9:35 AM

Work is getting underway to establish 110,000 acres of new water quality buffer strips statewide

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, the first component of one of Governor Mark Dayton’s major legislative priorities will take effect in Minnesota. Beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2015, funding to begin the implementation of the water quality buffer initiative becomes available to local Soil and Water Districts across Minnesota. Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts will begin hiring staff to provide technical assistance for Minnesotans as they implement new buffers, and help eligible landowners enroll in federal funding programs. 

“Minnesotans are united as stewards of our lakes, rivers and streams,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Representative Paul Torkelson and Senator John Marty for their work on this very important measure. By working together, we can greatly improve the quality of our waters across our great state.”

Additional components of the law will take effect over the next several years, as farmers and landowners work to implement buffers on their properties. Buffers must be in place on all public waters by November 1, 2017. Buffers on public drainage systems will be in place by November 1, 2018. A complete timeline of when different components of the law will take effect is available on the state’s buffer initiative information website

About the Buffer Initiative
Following a series of reports highlighting a concerning decline in water quality across Minnesota, Governor Dayton and lawmakers worked throughout the legislative session with farmers, landowners, environmental advocates, and public health experts to develop a solution that will reduce runoff and improve water quality. Together, they enacted legislation that will help significantly improve water quality in Minnesota. 

The new buffer law will designate roughly 110,000 acres of land for buffer strips alongside Minnesota’s waterways. These new perennial vegetation buffers along rivers, streams, and ditches, will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment before it enters the water supply. With the support of local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the new law will provide flexibility and financial assistance for landowners to install and maintain buffers, and boost compliance with buffer laws across Minnesota.

"Additional financial assistance funding is a key part of the Buffers Initiative that will accelerate clean water results in Minnesota," said John Jaschke, Director of BWSR, "As they have done for many years, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts are ready to provide landowners with trusted technical advice."

How It Works
Here is how the new law buffer law will work. Additional information about the initiative, including links to frequently asked questions, and resources for landowners, is available on the state’s buffer initiative website.
  • Financial and Technical Support – The legislation provides more than $33 million in additional financial support for landowners to install and maintain buffers on their properties. This new financial support, included in this year’s Legacy Bill, supplements other existing state and federal programs that assist farmers and landowners in establishing effective conservation practices. The legislation also provides additional resources for local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to provide technical support for landowners to help them comply with the law.

  • Fifty-Foot Buffers on All Public Waters – By November 1, 2017, the new law will require 50 foot buffers on all public waters (lakes, rivers, and streams). These new requirements will be enforced through state and local mechanisms and can be implemented quickly. 

  • Better Compliance for Public Ditches – By November 1, 2018, the new law will require 16.5-foot buffers around all public ditches. Right now, just 20 percent of public ditches are required to have a 16.5-foot buffer. By accelerating the requirements and providing better enforcement and additional support, this legislation will accomplish buffers on all public ditches. 

  • Local Requirements along Other Waters – Requirements on other waters will be set by local soil and water conservation districts to meet the needs and circumstances of individual parcels of land. These measures will be taken in consultation with local landowners, and adopted into local comprehensive water management plans approved by the Board of Water and Soil Resources. 

  • More Flexibility – Buffer widths will depend on the type of waterway each landowner is charged with protecting (depending on whether it is public water, a public ditch, or other waters). There will be exceptions included for areas covered by a road, building or other structures; areas enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program; public or private water access or recreational use areas; and municipalities in compliance with federal and state storm water requirements.
Recent Reports Underscore Need for Action
A series of reports have highlighted a decline in water quality in Minnesota – compelling state leaders to take action this session to establish better, more effective buffer conservation efforts statewide, including:
  • Low Compliance with Existing Buffer Laws – Due to inadequate regulations and a lack of consistent enforcement, the state’s previous laws were not effective in preventing harmful runoff into lakes, rivers, and streams. In fact, recent analysis from BWSR estimates that 64 percent of all waters in the southern and western regions of Minnesota are not subject to any buffer requirements under current law. Additionally, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) estimates that only 43 percent of rivers and streams in western and southern Minnesota currently have vegetated buffers.

  • Drinking Water Concerns – In May 2015, the Minnesota Department released the findings of the state’s annual drinking water report, which show nitrate levels in drinking water supplies are of increasing concern in Minnesota. Elevated levels of nitrate – which can lead to Blue Baby Syndrome in infants and other adverse human health effects – have caused an increasing number of Minnesota communities to install expensive nitrate treatment systems to ensure their water supplies are safe to drink. 

  • Watershed Report –The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently released a report that showed that that agricultural and urban runoff is contributing significantly to the impairment of Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, and streams. The impairments are caused by high levels of bacteria, nitrates and sediment, and could be prevented by better buffer strip implementation and enforcement.


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CNBC Names Minnesota “America’s Top State for Business”

Posted on June 25, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Minnesota jumped from 6th place in 2014 to top spot in 2015

ST. PAUL, MN – Minnesota is America’s Top State for Business in 2015, according to a new report released today by CNBC. Minnesota moved into the top spot this year, after placing 6th in 2014, and 15th in 2013.

CNBC’s annual study scores all 50 states on 60 measures of competitiveness, separated into 10 categories. These categories include workforce, economy, infrastructure and transportation, education, cost of living, cost of doing business, access to capital, innovation, business friendliness and quality of life. 

Minnesota received the highest overall score this year across the 10 categories, including economy, citing Minnesota’s low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent coupled with the high labor force participation rate at 70.8 percent.  Minnesota ranked third in the nation for quality of life, noting the low crime rate, clean air and water, and access to quality health care.

“The credit for our state’s economic success belongs to the people of Minnesota. We thank the businessmen and women, who chose Minnesota, and their productive employees, who made those investments successful,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “We are proud to earn this national recognition and determined to continue on our path toward future growth.”

Since 2011, the Minnesota economy has added 189,000 jobs – a 7.1 percent increase. These new jobs have been added by the growing number of business relocating to Minnesota, in addition to companies that have announced expansions within the state.

“Minnesota has been blessed with hardworking, inventive, and entrepreneurial citizens for generations. This award is a worthy recognition for their efforts,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Despite our state’s track record of strong economic growth, we must continue to work to ensure all Minnesotans are able to benefit.”

CNBC highlighted Minnesota’s workforce, citing the quality and availability of skilled workers in the state. According to the study, Minnesota’s workforce is highly educated, and the state also offers unique worker-training programs to ensure future placement in jobs.

“The CNBC ranking underscores Minnesota’s ability to offer the complete package to businesses with an emphasis on a talented, educated workforce that is encouraging growth throughout the state,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “In the coming years, we will need to continue to focus on customized training for workers in order to meet the needs of our growing businesses and sustain our position as the best state for business.”

In 2014, Minnesota tied for 12th place in the education category. This year, Minnesota placed 2nd, citing the state’s educated workers and the availability of over 200 public and private higher-education institutions that offer companies the ability to recruit talent. The study also emphasized the state’s value of the K-12 education system, including long-term funding trends.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Minnesota ranks 4th in the country for the percent of the population with a high school diploma or higher at 92.4 percent, and 11th in the nation for percent of the population with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher at 33.5 percent.

In addition to the scoring in each metric, CNBC’s “America’s Top State for Business” study takes input into consideration from the National Association of Manufacturers, the Council on Competitiveness, the CNBC Global CFO Council and a wide variety of businesses and economic development organizations. 

Other Recent National Rankings for Minnesota
  • Best Place for Women – Minnesota is the best place for women according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research

  • Best Place for Renters – Twin Cities among the best places for renters according to Nerd Wallet

  • Most Livable Place for People 50 and Older – St. Paul, Rochester, Minneapolis and Duluth all made the AARP list of the most livable places for people age 50 and older

  • Fittest in the Nation – The Minneapolis-St. Paul region ranks the 2nd fittest in the nation according to a new health index by the American College of Sports Medicine

  • World’s Top Cities for Cyclists – Minneapolis is only city in the United States to be included on a worldwide list of bike-friendly cities

  • Best State for Working Moms – Minnesota was named the 2nd best state for working moms according to WalletHub

  • Best Small Cities – Moorhead, Winona, and Mankato all rank near the top of the best small cities in America by Nerd Wallet

  • Best City Parks – Minneapolis and St. Paul tied for the title of best city parks in the Trust for Public Land’s annual ranking

  • Most Bike FriendlyForbes ranks Minneapolis as the most bike-friendly city in the United States

  • Safest Town in America – Hibbing is the safest city in America according to SafeWise, who used research and FBI crime statistics to rank the list.

  • Friendliest MetroTravel and Leisure selects Minneapolis-St. Paul at the 3rd friendliest metro in the country. 


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Governor Dayton Signs Special Session Bills into Law

Posted on June 13, 2015 at 2:40 PM

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ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton signed all bills passed by the Legislature during the special session. The following is a statement from Governor Dayton:

“Early this morning, Minnesota legislators concluded their 2015 session. I thank them for passing the remaining budget bills, as well as Legacy and bonding bills, all of which I have signed into law. 

“Last fall, Minnesota voters chose divided political leadership for our state. This legislative session ended in that same way: with legislators sharply divided over key issues, like the optimal amounts of taxes and expenditures, social services, and transportation improvements.

“Nevertheless, legislators achieved significant progress in providing better care and education for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens: children, who were previously considered too young for structured elementary education. Minnesotans at the other end of life will also benefit from increased funding for nursing homes, personal care attendants, and other supportive services. 

“As I have noted before, a sign of true compromise is that no one is happy with it.  Many compromises had to be made during this legislative session; and many people, across the political spectrum, believe it suffered from too many missed opportunities.

“One positive result, however, is that the remaining surplus, combined with the budgeted reserve and cash flow account, has left the State with a positive balance of almost $2.5 billion. It stands in welcome contrast to the financial uncertainties of recent years.

“Legislators from both political parties have devoted countless hours to leading our state toward a better future. They, and their supportive families, have earned our gratitude.”

Governor Dayton signed the following bills into law today:
  • Chapter 1, HF 3 : This is the Jobs and Energy Bill. This bill passed 78-47 in the House and 50-14 in the Senate.

    • A Better Jobs and Energy Bill – Click here to read about improvements made to the Jobs and Energy Bill, following Governor Dayton’s May 23rd veto.

  • Chapter 2, SF 1 : This is the Legacy Bill. This bill passed 116-6 in the House and 54-10 in the Senate.

  • Chapter 3, HF1 : This is the Education Finance Bill. This bill passed 115-10 in the House and 53-12 in the Senate

    • A Better Education Bill – Click here to read about improvements made to the Education Finance Bill, following Governor Dayton’s May 23rd veto.

    • Education Bill Fact Sheet – Click here to read about the new investments included in the Education Finance Bill signed into law today by Governor Dayton.

  • Chapter 4, SF5 : This is the Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Finance Bill. This bill passed 78-47 in the House and 38-29 in the Senate.

    • A Better Agriculture & Environment Bill – Click here to read about improvements made to the Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Finance Bill, following Governor Dayton’s May 23rd veto.

  • Chapter 5, HF2 : This is the Bonding Bill. This bill passed 96-25 in the House and 48-18 in the Senate.

  • Chapter 6, HF 6 : This is the Technical Corrections (Revisor’s) Bill. This bill passed 125-0 in the House and 61-1 in the Senate.


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Governor Mark Dayton, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith Visit Saint Paul Park to Talk Railway Safety

Posted on June 09, 2015 at 3:01 PM

Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith met with community leaders, first responders to discuss rail accident prevention and capacity efforts

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, in response to a collision between an oil train and a semi-truck on Sunday, Governor Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith traveled to Saint Paul Park to meet with local officials and discuss the critical need for railway safety investment in the region.  

The intersection where the collision occurred was identified in a 2014 study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation as being dangerous and in need of safety improvements. Construction of an alternate access is scheduled to begin as soon as spring 2016 in order to close the crossing. 

“Minnesota’s crowded railways bring very serious threats to the safety of citizens throughout our state,” said Governor Dayton. “Unfortunately, the very limited transportation and bonding bills agreed to by House Republicans do not fund improvements in many of the most dangerous rail crossings in the state. I will continue to support investments that improve railway safety throughout Minnesota.”

Every day, trains carrying oil and other hazardous materials pass through Minnesota. These trains present real risks to public safety and our natural resources. During the 2015 legislative session, Governor Dayton proposed a railway safety funding package to strengthen Minnesota’s ability to prevent train and car collisions, and allow first responders to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a collision or derailment. By improving safety precautions and disaster preparedness, these efforts would improve the safety of Minnesotans living near railroads carrying hazardous materials.

“The recent collision in Saint Paul Park between an oil train and semi-truck underscores the continued need for rail grade crossing safety improvements statewide,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith.  “This past session, Governor Dayton and I proposed a budget, which would have funded critical infrastructure projects and disaster preparedness initiatives. Unfortunately, little of it was enacted this spring by the Legislature.”

Minnesota has 4,444 rail route miles used by twenty different railroads, which annually move more than one trillion tons of freight through the state. Minnesota’s share of rail transportation exceeds the U.S. average by almost 30 percent. By 2030, rail traffic in Minnesota is projected to grow 25 percent to 40 percent.  

On Minnesota’s most highly traveled routes, oil trains pass through more than 683 crossings, travelling through some of Minnesota’s most populous communities. Each of these crossings increases the chance of a train or motor vehicle accident, while placing Minnesotans who must travel across the tracks at risk. Increasing oil train traffic from North Dakota has reduced rail line capacity for Minnesota businesses and led to long backups in our communities, while motorists wait for trains to pass. 

Governor Dayton’s Railway Safety Proposal
Governor Dayton developed his railway safety proposal after holding seven railway safety meetings across Minnesota, hosting a railway safety summit last fall, and conducting a statewide survey gathering the input of local community leaders. His recommendations were based on the input of Minnesotans, emergency managers and first responders, and experts at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Governor Dayton’s proposal included:
  • Four Major Grade Separations – Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal included funding for four major grade separations in Coon Rapids, Moorhead, Prairie Island, and Willmar. Improvements at these rail crossings, which are heavily congested and considered particularly dangerous, are urgently needed and require major investments.

  • 71 Infrastructure Improvements Statewide – The Governor’s proposal funds 71 additional railway safety improvements at rail crossings across Minnesota. A comprehensive list of these projects, which were chosen by MnDOT experts based on their levels of danger and congestion. A comprehensive list of those projects is available online.

  • Better Training for First Responders – In order to adequately prepare for potential derailments or railway disasters, the Governor’s proposal funds additional training measures for first responders and emergency managers across Minnesota. Specifically, the proposal includes the construction of a new multifaceted training facility at Camp Ripley, which would simulate response scenarios related to the transportation and storage of hazardous materials, including Bakken oil. 

  • More Quiet Zones – The Governor’s proposal would provide funding to help establish new quiet zones in communities located along busy rail lines. 

  • A New Rail Office Director – The Governor’s proposal included a Rail Office Director who would position Minnesota to play a larger role in addressing freight rail service and safety issues in the state. This would allow accelerated and expanded delivery of grade crossing safety improvements, expanded rail safety inspection, and enforcement of rail safety regulations and rail planning.
Attachments:
  • FACT SHEET: A comprehensive list of the 71 statewide railway safety improvements that would be funded under the Governor’s proposal.

  • MAP: A map of the Hastings Avenue and 1st Street Crossing in Saint Paul Park.


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Minnesota Receives $38 Million in Federal Grants for Veterans Homes

Posted on May 28, 2015 at 3:02 PM

Grant will fund expansion of Minneapolis Veterans Home nursing facility

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced that the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) will receive a federal grant totaling $38 million for the construction of a skilled care nursing facility, and infrastructure tying the existing and future complex together at the Minneapolis Veterans Home.

“Through their service to our state and nation, Minnesota’s veterans have earned the best possible care,” said Governor Dayton. “These new federal resources, and the state’s financial commitment to these projects, will provide state-of-the-art facilities and equipment that will help ensure our veterans receive high-quality care for years to come.”

For 128 years, the Minneapolis Veterans Home has provided care to Minnesota’s veterans. Today, Governor Dayton announced the state will receive a $38 million federal grant to complete the renovation and expansion of the facility, including the construction of a modern skilled nursing facility. The project will also include a tunnel connecting all of the skilled nursing buildings on the Veterans Home campus. The Governor and Legislature provided $18.9 million of state matching funds for the project in the 2013 Jobs Bill. Construction on the third and final phase of the project will begin in May 2016.

“This federal grant will provide important updates to our 128-year-old campus and complete the three-phase campus redevelopment at the Minneapolis Veterans Home,” said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito. “The Minneapolis Veterans Home, and our other four Veterans Homes across the state, have bright futures thanks to investment and support from our State and Federal partners.”

While waiting for federal grant funding, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs continued moving forward, earning multiple “Best in Class” ratings and approval to provide Medicare reimbursable services. Over the last year, MDVA launched the nation’s first tele-health system between a State Veterans Home and a VA Medical Center, redesigned the safety program, rolled out new memory loss programs and made significant enhancements in the area of electronic health records.

The first phase of the project, completed in 2012, included 100 private rooms designed around “neighborhoods” to offer care in a home-style atmosphere. The facility includes a greenhouse, barber and beauty shops, common areas, and a town square. Phase two is currently underway and features 100 private rooms, a commercial kitchen, exercise rooms and therapy space. Phase two is expected to be completed in early 2016.

For more information about the Minneapolis Veterans Home project, click here.


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Governor Dayton to Deliver State of the State Address on Thursday, April 9, at 7:00pm

Posted on April 08, 2015 at 10:43 AM

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Governor Mark Dayton's 2015 State of the State Address

Tomorrow night, Governor Dayton will deliver his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature, beginning at 7:00pm in the Chamber of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Minnesotans can tune into Governor Dayton's Twitter page on the night of the speech to view a special livestream of the Governor’s State of the State Address. Those wishing to view the stream on their mobile device can download the Periscope application. Minnesotans will also be able to watch this stream from their computers with no special software needed.

Minnesotans can also watch or listen to Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address on the following outlets:

  • House Public Information Services: House Public Information Services will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks online at this link. After the speech, video of Governor Dayton’s remarks will be posted online here.

  • PBS Stations: The Governor’s remarks will be broadcast live on PBS television stations statewide on the Minnesota Channel.

  • MPR Stations: Minnesota Public Radio will broadcast the Governor’s remarks live on affiliated radio stations statewide. The speech will also be re-broadcast at noon on Friday, April 10, 2015.

  • WCCO TV: WCCO will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks on their website at this link.

  • WCCO Radio: The Governor’s remarks will be broadcast live on WCCO Radio AM830 and on their website.

  • StarTribune.com: The Star Tribune will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks on their website.


Minnesotans can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MnSOTS 


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Seventy-Five Railway Safety Improvements Funded in Governor’s Proposal

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Proposal would require railroads to help pay for railway safety improvements across Minnesota

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Governor Dayton is joined by local elected and public safety officials to announce his railway safety proposal.

ST. PAUL, MN – Seventy-five railway safety projects – at Minnesota’s most dangerous and congested rail crossings – would be completed statewide, if a proposal from Governor Mark Dayton is passed this session. Governor Dayton today revealed a comprehensive list of those specific projects, which were compiled by experts at the Minnesota Department of Transportation and chosen based on their levels of danger and congestion.

Governor Dayton’s railway safety proposal would invest $330 million over the next ten years in the construction of safer railroad crossings across Minnesota, and provide additional bonding dollars to fund four major grade separations in Coon Rapids, Moorhead, Prairie Island, and Willmar. The plan would implement new quiet zones in communities located along busy rail lines, provide better training for emergency managers and first responders, and hire a new Rail Office Director who would position the state to play a larger role in addressing freight rail service and safety issues throughout the state. 

If passed, Governor Dayton’s plan would also provide local governments the resources they need to respond to local infrastructure needs caused by increased railway traffic. By modernizing property taxes paid by railroads, the proposal would provide $45 million every year for cities, counties, and townships to fund their own local priority rail infrastructure improvements. A comprehensive list of how much new railway safety funding each city, county, and township would receive under the Governor’s plan is available online.

“Over the last year, I have traveled across Minnesota and seen firsthand the very serious and costly challenges that increased rail traffic have thrust upon our communities,” said Governor Dayton. “Minnesotans did not cause these disruptions; they are not responsible for the endless barrage of dangerous cargo being shipped through their communities every day. The railroads responsible for these problems have a responsibility to pay for these essential safety improvements.”

What the Proposal Would Deliver
The Governor developed his railway safety proposal after holding seven railway safety meetings across Minnesota, hosting a railway safety summit last fall, and conducting a statewide survey gathering the input of local community leaders. His recommendations are based on the input of Minnesotans, emergency managers and first responders, and experts at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Specifically, the proposal would deliver:
  • Four Major Grade Separations – When the Governor introduces his bonding proposal later this month, it will include funding for four major grade separations in Coon Rapids, Moorhead, Prairie Island, and Willmar. Improvements at these rail crossings, which are heavily congested and considered particularly dangerous, are urgently needed and require major investments.

  • Another 71 Infrastructure Improvements Statewide – The Governor’s proposal would also fund 71 additional railway safety improvements at rail crossings across Minnesota. A comprehensive list of these projects, which were chosen by MnDOT experts based on their levels of danger and congestion. A comprehensive list of those projects is available online.

  • Better Training for First Responders – In order to adequately prepare for potential derailments or railway disasters, the Governor’s proposal would fund additional training measures for first responders and emergency managers across Minnesota. Specifically, this would include the construction of a new multifaceted training facility at Camp Ripley, which would simulate response scenarios related to the transportation and storage of hazardous materials, including Bakken oil. 

  • More Quiet Zones – The Governor’s proposal would also provide funding to help establish new quiet zones in communities located along busy rail lines. 

  • A New Rail Office Director – The proposal would hire a new Rail Office Director who would position Minnesota to play a larger role in addressing freight rail service and safety issues in the state. This would allow accelerated and expanded delivery of grade crossing safety improvements, expanded rail safety inspection, and enforcement of rail safety regulations and rail planning.

How the Proposal is Funded
The Governor’s proposed railway safety improvements would be funded through the following measures: 
  • Assessments on Class I Railroads – The proposal would implement a $33 million annual assessment on the four Class I railroads that operate in Minnesota, based on their track mileage in the state. It would be used to fund additional grade separations and crossing improvements across Minnesota.

  • State General Obligation Bonds – The Governor’s bonding bill will include funding for four major grade separation projects in Coon Rapids, Moorhead, Prairie Island, and Willmar. It will also include funding for a new railway safety training facility for first responders at Camp Ripley and funding for quiet zones.

  • Modernizing Property Taxes Paid by Railroads – Minnesota’s current railroad property tax laws have not kept pace with modern assessment practices. Modernizing railroad property taxes would expand the taxable property of railroads to include rolling stock, rail cars, trestles, and rail bridges. This would expand the tax base for communities that are now dealing with increased rail use and congestion. Property tax modernization would provide $45 million in new annual revenues for cities, counties, and townships to address their local infrastructure needs.

Building on Recent Progress
These needed improvements would build on new railway safety measures implemented last year by Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature. Those efforts required railroad companies to submit disaster prevention and emergency plans to the State, increased the number of rail inspectors at MnDOT, required railroads to respond to derailments or spills of hazardous cargos within a specified timeframe, and provided additional emergency response training for local police and fire departments, and other first responders in Minnesota.

Attachments:


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Over 57,400 Children Enrolled in All-Day Kindergarten Statewide

Posted on March 12, 2015 at 11:01 AM

New data show all-day kindergarten enrollment is exceeding initial state projections

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ST. PAUL, MN – In its first year of implementation, new data from the Minnesota Department of Education shows that 57,479 students are now benefitting from the state’s all-day, every day kindergarten initiative. That number amounts to 99.6 percent of all kids enrolled in kindergarten throughout the state, and exceeds original state predictions by nearly 3,500 students. The data also shows that every public elementary school in the state – except one – are now offering free, all-day, every day kindergarten programs for their students.

“Before we made this important investment, just 54 percent of Minnesota children had access to all-day kindergarten,” said Governor Mark Dayton, who led the charge for a major investment in all-day kindergarten in 2013. “Now, during its first year of implementation, 99.6 percent of kids are getting the great start they need in classrooms across our state. This is outstanding news for our kids, and for our state’s future. I thank the teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and legislators who made this achievement possible.”

All-day, every day kindergarten is the result of a $134 million investment made by Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature in 2013. Districts were then given a year to prepare for the move from partial day to full-day programming. Many families were previously paying thousands of dollars to send their children to all-day kindergarten, sometimes as much as $2,500-$4,200. Now, because of the state’s new investments, over 57,400 children across Minnesota are attending all-day kindergarten, free of charge.

“It is amazing to see how quickly schools scaled up their kindergarten programs to offer full day classes,” Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said. “It truly goes to show how necessary and important this investment was for Minnesota families. These students now have more time to develop academically and socially, creating a strong foundation that will propel them forward for success in the future. Just as exciting, with every child gaining access to the same opportunity of a great first start, full day kindergarten will undoubtedly be a game changer for closing the achievement gaps in Minnesota.”

Throughout Minnesota, 57,714 children are currently enrolled in a kindergarten program with 57,479 of those students being served at a full day, every day site. Parents can opt out of enrolling their child in a full-day program, which accounts for the remaining 238 students enrolled in partial day programs.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature, thousands of our youngest learners are now benefitting from all-day Kindergarten,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “High-impact investments like all-day kindergarten and early learning initiatives are helping close Minnesota’s achievement gap, and creating brighter futures for all of our students.”

This year, Governor Dayton is working to further his commitment to early learning by investing $347 million in statewide, all-day preschool for every four-year-old in Minnesota. This proposal, and other proposed investments in early learning proposed by Governor Dayton, would build on the success of all-day kindergarten and help ensure every child gets a great start, and has access to an excellent education.


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Over 600 Road and Bridge Improvements Funded by Governor’s Proposal

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 1:42 PM
Categories: Transportation, Budget

2,200 miles of roadways and 330 bridges would be repaired or replaced statewide

Governor Dayton and Transportation Comissioner Zelle announce the more than 600 projects that would be funded under the Governor's plan

Governor Dayton and Transportation Comissioner Zelle announce the more than 600 projects that would be funded under the Governor's plan

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle today released a detailed list of more than 600 road and bridge improvements that would be completed if the Legislature passes the Governor’s proposed investments in transportation. The comprehensive list, sorted by county, details the more than 2,200 miles of state roadways and 330 bridges that would be repaired, replaced, or expanded over the next ten years under the Governor’s proposal.

“Minnesotans rely on these roads and bridges every day to get to work, bring their kids to school, and get their goods to market,” said Governor Dayton. “If we fail to act, the condition of these roads and bridges will only get worse. I urge all Minnesotans to review this list of projects and decide for themselves whether these investments are worth making.”

Road and bridge improvements funded by the Governor’s proposal are urgently needed. Right now, more than half of Minnesota’s roads are more than 50 years old, and 40 percent of the state’s bridges are more than 40 years old. In just the next three years alone, one in five Minnesota roads will pass their useful life. And in the next ten years, nearly 40 percent of our roads will be past their useful life.

“After decades of decline, Governor Dayton’s transportation proposal would make needed investments in roads and bridges across Minnesota,” said Commissioner Zelle. “The Governor’s proposal would help reduce travel times, improve safety, and build a modern transportation system that would meet the needs of our state’s growing population and economy.” 

Projects included in the list released today are based on the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In selecting pavement and bridge improvements, MnDOT gave priority to projects that would extend the life of roadways and bridges beyond the current 20-year State Highway Investment Plan (MnSHIP). MnDOT used the following criteria to select the projects included in the list released today:

  • Fixing Roads in Urgent Need of Repair – Priority was given to projects that would reduce the total miles of roadway statewide that have no remaining service life (meaning they are in very poor condition, and in need of repair). Over the next ten years, roughly 4,370 miles of roadway on the state system will have zero remaining service life.

  • Making Longer-Term Fixes on Currently-Planned Projects – Instead of just making temporary fixes that would need to be repaired again in just a few years, this list of projects includes upgrades of currently-planned projects to make sure those repairs last longer, and would extend the useful life of more Minnesota roadways.

  • Preventing Problems Before They Happen – Projects were included in the list released today that would provide for preventive maintenance that would reduce the need to do longer-term work in the near future. By preventing further deterioration, these new investments would forego the need to perform costlier fixes down the road.

  • Strategic Expansion – The list also includes projects that make targeted investments in key freight routes across Minnesota that are important for business expansions, job creation, and economic development.
    The list of projects released today includes $1.6 billion in new Corridors of Commerce funding that would be provided under the Governor’s proposal. These funds would be used specifically on projects that would strengthen Minnesota’s transportation system by adding capacity, reducing congestion, and improving the movement of freight across Minnesota.

  • Local road improvement projects – funded with help from the state, but chosen by local governments – are not included on the list released today. Over 40 percent of the new revenues raised in the Governor’s proposal ($2.356 billion) would be directed to cities, counties, and townships; giving local leaders the resources and flexibility to repair and replace roads and bridges statewide. These new investments would add hundreds of additional road and bridge improvements in communities across Minnesota.

About Governor Dayton’s Transportation Proposal 
Several weeks ago, Governor Dayton proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems. The Governor’s plan would invest $6 billion over the next ten years to address the state’s highway funding deficit, invest $2.356 billion in local government transportation projects, and provide $2.92 billion for Metro and Greater Minnesota transit systems. To learn more about his proposal, click on the links below:

List of Projects – Review the list of projects – released today by the Governor and MnDOT – that would be completed over the next ten years if the Governor’s transportation proposal is passed

News Release – Read the news release from the Governor’s transportation proposal announcement

How it Works – Read about how the plan would be funded

Fact Sheet – Get all the facts on the challenges facing our transportation system, and how the Governor’s proposed investments would address those challenges

Local Funding Increases – Learn how much funding each city and county would receive under the Governor’s transportation proposal 

Maps – Take a look at the transportation projects that would be funded, by region





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Children and Families Top Governor Dayton’s Budget Priorities

Posted on January 27, 2015 at 11:20 AM

With $1 billion budget surplus, Governor Dayton proposes bold new investments in education

ST. PAUL, MN – After a decade of deficits, state leaders are now facing a $1 billion budget surplus created by Minnesota’s strong and growing economy. As Minnesota begins the discussion about where to invest the state’s budget surplus, Governor Mark Dayton today proposed a two-year budget that would make bold new investments in education, put more money in the pockets of working families, and make long-overdue investments in the state’s aging and underfunded transportation system.

“Minnesota’s future success – the health of our families, the vitality of our communities, and the prosperity of our state – will depend upon our making excellent educations available to all Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton. “That is exactly what my budget proposal aims to do.”

Governor Dayton’s budget proposal, released in detail today, would invest Minnesota’s budget surplus in creating a free, voluntary PreK learning program for all 4-year-olds, and increasing funding for every K-12 school in Minnesota. Additionally, the Governor’s budget proposal would invest in higher education to make it more affordable for Minnesota students and their families, deliver $100 million in child care tax credits for working families, and make other crucial investments in children and the middle-class.

“Our budget priorities are clear: provide excellent, affordable educations for every student, and give Minnesota families the support they need to raise happy, healthy children,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “We cannot resolve all the state’s many pressing needs in just one budget. But these bold new investments would make an important difference in the lives and educations of many thousands of young people and families. They would set our state on course for an even brighter future.”

Excellent Educations for Every Student
When Governor Dayton took office four years ago, he promised Minnesotans that he would increase funding for education every year he was governor – no excuses, no exceptions. Over the last four years, the Governor and Legislature invested $895 million in PreK-12 education. The two-year budget introduced today delivers again on that promise, investing an additional $373 million in PreK-12 education. It would also provide $93 million for initiatives that would improve our higher education system, and make it more affordable for Minnesota families. These bold new investments would help ensure every Minnesota student receives an excellent education.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the vision Governor Dayton shared today with his budget that puts children and education first,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Not only is he keeping his promise to make education funding a priority every year he is in office, but he is doing it in a way that will transform our efforts to help all children succeed. Every single child matters in this budget – no matter their race, zip code or economic circumstance – and with it, we help give every Minnesota student the opportunity for an excellent education from start to finish.”

Statewide PreK – The Governor’s budget would invest $109 million to provide 31,000 four-year-olds access to free, high-quality PreK learning opportunities.

More Funding for Every School – The Governor’s budget would invest $373 million in PreK-12 schools statewide, increasing the per-pupil funding formula to $5,948 by 2017. It would give local school districts the resources and flexibility to meet the needs of their students and classrooms – from lowering class sizes, hiring new counselors, investing in technology, or providing other needed programs and services.

Tackling the Achievement Gap – In addition to statewide PreK, the Governor’s budget would invest in a multi-layered approach to narrow the state’s achievement gap. It would eliminate the current Head Start waiting list, provide support to help all students read well, target educational support to parents of at-risk children ages 0-8, make additional investments in English Language Learning, and more.

Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids – The Governor’s budget includes important new investments in school nutrition and behavioral health in our schools. It would provide free breakfasts for all PreK-3 students, fund in-school programs to improve student behavior, and support parents of at-risk children.

Investing in Higher Education – In 2013, the Governor and Legislature reversed a decade of funding cuts, investing $250 million in initiatives to make higher education more affordable for hundreds of thousands of students. This year, the Governor’s budget would invest an additional $93 million to hold down tuition growth at the University of Minnesota, expand the State Grant Program, continue reciprocity arrangements with neighboring states and improve research outcomes at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Investing in Children and Families
Governor Dayton’s proposed budget would invest an additional $144 million in children and families over the next two years. Those new investments would help make high-quality child care more affordable for 130,000 low- and middle-income families, and provide better services to low-income families and at-risk children in Minnesota. These proposals would put more money in the pockets of working families, and help ensure all children receive the care and support they need to succeed in school and life.

“Governor Dayton’s budget proposal would provide important, targeted investments to improve the lives of children, and to support strong and healthy families in Minnesota,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “These new and needed investments would help ensure all Minnesota children receive the support and services they need to succeed in school, and live safe, healthy, and productive lives.”

The following is a brief overview of Governor Dayton’s proposed investments in children and families:

Child and Dependent Care Credit – Minnesota is the 4th-most expensive state for child care in the nation, with annual care costs totaling over $10,800 for one child. The Governor’s budget proposal would invest $99.9 million in expanding the Child and Dependent Care Credit, making child care more affordable for 130,000 low- and middle-income families. The average family would save $429 per year.

Supporting Children and Families – The Governor’s budget would also invest an additional $44 million to improve access to high-quality child care for low-income families, provide additional outreach to parents of at-risk children, increasing the state’s investment in children’s mental health services, and enhancing the state’s child protection efforts.

Fixing Minnesota’s Aging, Underfunded Transportation System
For years, state leaders have failed to adequately fund Minnesota’s highways, roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Insufficient funding has left them inadequate, congested, and needing repairs. That is why Governor Dayton yesterday proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems. The Governor’s proposal would create an estimated 119,000 new jobs, and build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a growing population and an expanding state economy.

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Additional information about Governor Dayton’s budget proposal is available online. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.



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Governor Dayton Details Plan to Fix Minnesota’s Aging, Underfunded Transportation System

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 10:44 AM
Categories: Transportation, Budget

Comprehensive proposal would fund roads, bridges and transit across Minnesota, and create 119,000 new jobs 

2015_01_26_transportation.jpg 

Governor Dayton announces his proposal for a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems.

For years, state leaders have failed to adequately fund Minnesota’s highways, roads, bridges, and public transit systems. Insufficient funding has left them inadequate, congested, and needing repairs.

Today, Governor Mark Dayton proposed a straightforward, honest solution to fix Minnesota’s aging transportation systems. Governor Dayton’s plan would invest $6 billion over the next ten years to address the state’s highway funding deficit, invest $2.356 billion in local government transportation projects, and provide $2.92 billion for Metro and Greater Minnesota transit systems. The Governor’s proposal would create an estimated 119,000 new jobs,* and build the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of a growing population and an expanding state economy.

“Inadequate transportation clogs our lives with worse traffic congestion, longer commutes, more dangerous travel conditions. Those deficiencies restrict our future economic growth and detract from our quality of life,” said Governor Dayton. “If we continue to avoid these problems, they will only get worse. It’s time to begin to solve them. I urge the Legislature to work with me this session to begin to repair and improve Minnesota’s transportation systems.”

“Minnesota’s roads, bridges, and transit networks form the backbone of our economy. After decades of decline, we must invest in these systems to protect Minnesota's long-term economic vitality,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The plan that Governor Dayton and I are proposing would provide the resources we need to build a modern transportation system – driving continued business and job growth, and protecting the quality of life enjoyed by all Minnesotans.”

The problem is real. In 2012, Governor Dayton convened a bipartisan panel of experts – including policymakers, business and labor leaders, Cabinet officials, and city and county officials from across the state – to study the funding needs of Minnesota’s highways, roads, bridges, and public transit systems. The Transportation Finance Advisory Committee’s (TFAC) analysis concluded that Minnesota faces a $6 billion state highway transportation funding deficit over the next ten years to preserve our existing system, and make the improvements needed for our long-term prosperity. Facing a large and growing list of transportation needs, declining revenues, and an expected one million new residents over the next 25 years, the need for a major new investment in transportation is clear.

“The state’s foremost experts agree on two things: this problem is real, and it cannot be resolved without a major investment,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “But Minnesotans didn’t need a bipartisan panel of experts to tell them what they already know – that our transportation system is in serious disrepair, and getting worse. This problem presents us with two simple and starkly different options: invest for the future, or do nothing and let the problem get much worse. We choose to invest.”

Governor Dayton’s Plan: What It Buys
Governor Dayton’s transportation plan would allow for significant improvements to roads, bridges, and transit systems statewide. Right now, more than half of Minnesota’s roads are more than 50 years old, and 40 percent of the state’s bridges are more than 40 years old. In just the next three years alone, one in five Minnesota roads will pass their useful life. And in the next ten years, nearly 40 percent of our roads will be past their useful life.

With new funding proposed by Governor Dayton, the state can make needed repairs and new investments in our transportation and transit systems – ensuring that Minnesotans are driving on safe, reliable roads and bridges, and have better access to a variety of low-cost transit options. Those improvements would include:

Better Roads and Bridges. The Governor’s plan would repair or replace 2,200 miles of state roads. It would repair or replace 330 bridges statewide. Forty percent of the new revenues raised in the Governor’s proposal would be directed to cities, counties, and townships; giving local leaders the resources and flexibility to repair and replace local roads and bridges statewide.

Better Transit Across Minnesota. The Governor’s plan would fund 20 new transitways, increase metro area bus service by 27 percent, increase Metro Area transit ridership by an estimated 80 percent, meet 90 percent of all transit needs in Greater Minnesota, and increase transit service in Greater Minnesota by nearly 500,000 hours of service each year.

More Corridors of Commerce. The Governor’s plan would provide an additional $1.6 billion for the Corridors of Commerce initiative, making targeted investments in key freight routes that are important for businesses’ expansions and economic development.

“By 2040, Minnesota’s population is expected to grow by over 1 million people; 800,000 of them will live in the Twin Cities Metro Area,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck. “For the future livability of our region, and for the competitive benefit of our entire state’s economy, we need to invest today in expanding and improving our transit systems. The future of our state, and our ability to leverage the federal funding needed to build a modern transit system, depends on the wise and necessary investments we make today.”

Governor Dayton’s Plan: How it Works
The Governor’s transportation plan would bridge the $6 billion state highway transportation funding gap over the next ten years by raising new dedicated revenues for roads and bridges. It would also increase revenues for transit.

New funding for road and bridge construction would be provided by a 6.5 percent gross receipts tax on gasoline, raising the current 1.25 percent base tax on vehicle registration fees to 1.5 percent, and raising car registration fees by $10. The Governor’s plan would also require MnDOT to generate efficiencies of 15 percent from all new revenues, allowing the Department to do $6 billion of work for $5.38 billion in new funding.

The chart below describes how new revenues would be used to address Minnesota’s transportation needs.

Road and Bridge Funding Over 10 years

  State Funding (Trunk Highway) – $5.38 billion
$3.38 billion in new revenue
$2 billion in trunk highway bonds


Source : Gross Receipts Tax and Registration Fee

  County, City, & Township Funding – $2.356  billion
Direct funding to Counties – $1.58 billion
Direct funding to Cities – $490 million
MNDOT funding for Counties and Cities – $153 million
Townships – $133 million

Source : Gross Receipts Tax and Registration Fees

Transit Funding Over 10 years

  Twin Cities Metro Area – $ 2.8 billion
Source : ½ cent sales tax increase in 7-county Metro

  Greater Minnesota Transit – $120 million
Source : General Fund

Bike and Pedestrian Funding Over 10 years

  Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure/Safe Routes to Schools - $ 75 million
Sources : General Fund and ½ cent sales tax increase in 7-county Metro


*Job creation estimates for road and bridge improvements are calculated using a Federal Highway Administration fomula of 9,500 construction jobs and 4,300 construction support jobs created by each $1 billion in transportation investments. Job creation estimates for transit improvements are calculated based on the Metropolitan Council’s experience in building the Green Line (Central Corridor) LRT project.

Attachments:

FACT SHEET: Governor Dayton’s Transportation Plan
FACT SHEET: Investing in Roads, Bridges, and Transit
SNAPSHOT: Investing in Roads and Bridges
MAPS: Transportation Projects


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Governor Proposes Tax Credit for 130,000 Minnesota Families

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Governor Dayton proposes major expansion of Child and Dependent Care Credit

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The Steffan family, the Clark family, and Barb Mikelson, a child care provider, shared their stories about how the Child Care Tax Credit would help their families.

Governor Mark Dayton today released details of his proposal to expand the Child and Dependent Care Credit in Minnesota, providing $99.9 million in direct tax relief to 130,000 Minnesota families. The Governor’s proposal would expand eligibility for the tax credit, allowing more middle-income families to claim a refundable tax credit for costs associated with child care, and dependent care for family members who are aging, or have a disability. Under Governor Dayton’s plan, the average family would receive $481; an eligible family could receive a maximum tax credit of $2,100 per year.

“Rising childcare costs have put hard financial strains on many Minnesota families, making it increasingly difficult for working parents to hold their jobs while assuring quality care for their children,” said Governor Dayton. “My Child Care Tax Credit helps to provide Minnesota families with options – so they don’t have to choose between working and caring for their families.”

On average, child care in Minnesota costs $901 per month, or $10,812 per year, for one child. Because of the high cost of child care, many parents are forced to leave the workforce because it makes more financial sense to care for their children at home than keep their jobs. To make child care more affordable for working families, Governor Dayton is proposing a major expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Credit to help provide Minnesota families with greater economic security – and to provide more flexibility for families with small children, aging parents, and family members with disabilities.

Michelle Steffan, a working mother of two, and her husband, Jake, are among the 92,000 Minnesota families who would be newly-eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit proposed today by Governor Dayton. Michelle and Jake live in Minneapolis, and their children attend Jardin Spanish Immersion. The Steffans’ weekly child care costs are $425 per week for two children; totaling nearly $22,000 annually. Under Governor Dayton’s proposal, Michelle and her family would receive $1,200 to help offset their child care costs – direct tax relief that will make child care more affordable.

“It’s important to me to keep working, so that I can maintain connections in my profession,” said Michelle Steffen. “Right now, with a three-year-old and nine-month-old in our family, any income I make goes directly to the cost of child care. This tax credit would help my family’s bottom line.”

A Closer Look at the Governor’s Proposal
Under current law, the Child and Dependent Care Credit provides direct tax relief to just 38,000 Minnesota families. But the plan proposed today by Governor Dayton this session would ensure that a total of 130,000 low- and middle-income families would receive the tax credit. The credit would also apply to families paying for dependent care for disabled or aging family members. The plan would keep the credit refundable, while retaining Minnesota’s exceptions for newborns and daycare providers.

Here is a closer look at the governor’s proposal, by the numbers:

38,000 –     Number of families currently eligible for the tax credit
92,000 –    Number of new families eligible under the Governor’s proposal
130,000 –    Number of families eligible for the tax credit under the Governor’s proposal
$39,000 –    Under current law, a family must make less than $39,000 to be eligible
$124,000 –    Under the Governor’s proposal, a family with two or more children earning less than $124,000 would be eligible for the tax credit
$2,100 –    Maximum tax credit a family could receive under the Governor’s proposal
$481 –         Average tax credit per family under the Governor’s proposal

Attachment: FACT SHEET: Making Child Care More Affordable 

Attachment: Minnesota Stories


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Governor Dayton Announces Launch of TransparencyMN Website

Posted on January 02, 2015 at 2:52 PM

New website allows Minnesotans to learn how their tax dollars are being spent
 
Continuing his administration’s efforts to build a Better Government for a Better Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton today announced the launch of a new state website, where Minnesotans can easily see how their tax dollars are spent. On the new TransparencyMN website, the public can find useful information such as details on state agency budgets, local governments and school district finances, and state audits and reports.
 
“Minnesotans expect and deserve this level of transparency and accountability in government,” said Governor Dayton. “This new online tool will provide Minnesotans 24-hour access to the information they need to understand how their tax dollars are being spent.”
 
According to MMB Commissioner Jim Schowalter, the new website brings together information on the financial activities of the state from a variety of different sources.
 
“A state government that is accountable to Minnesota taxpayers is an important part of being efficient and effective,” said Commissioner Schowalter. “The new functionality of this website will allow citizens, the media, and legislators more access to information about how state dollars are spent.”
 
TransparencyMN is designed to provide a current picture of the state’s operating budget, as well as daily expenditures made by state agencies-directly from the state's accounting system. Information is updated nightly – showing budgeted amounts available to agencies, amounts budgeted in specific categories, and actual payments made for goods and services. The website also includes a searchable database where information on contracts and grants, state appropriations, and state employee salaries can be found.
 
Better Government for a Better Minnesota
The TransparencyMN website is part of Governor Dayton’s ongoing commitment to make state government more accessible and easy for Minnesotans to understand. Since 2011, the Dayton Administration has implemented reforms across state government. These efforts have eliminated over 1,000 outdated laws and saved taxpayers more than $1 billion.


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Health officials offer tips and guidance to prevent the spread of influenza in Minnesota

Posted on December 23, 2014 at 1:08 PM

billboard-severe-flu-season.jpgGovernor Mark Dayton and Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger today urged Minnesotans to take precautions to prevent the spread of influenza in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Minnesota is currently experiencing one of the worst influenza seasons in recent memory, with 359 people hospitalized since October.
 
“I urge Minnesotans to be vigilant, and take all necessary precautions to protect themselves, their children, and their loved ones from the threat of influenza,” said Governor Dayton. “We are taking this threat very seriously, and will continue doing everything possible to prevent the further spread of this illness in our classrooms and communities.”
 
“Influenza can be a serious, life threatening illness for people of all ages,” said Commissioner Ehlinger. “Every year in Minnesota we see serious illness and scores of deaths from influenza. This year’s strain of influenza appears to be causing more severe illness than in the recent past. It’s important that all Minnesotans take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones and prevent the spread of influenza.”

 
Preventing the Spread of Influenza
Governor Dayton and Commissioner Ehlinger today offered the following information and guidelines to Minnesotans today on preventing the spread of influenza in Minnesota.

  • Get Your Flu Shot – The best way to prevent influenza is to get a flu shot – and it is not too late; the influenza season typically lasts through the month of April in Minnesota. The Department of Health offers this simple online tool Minnesotans can use to find a clinic in their area to obtain a flu shot. Influenza vaccinations also may be given at other locations and times not listed on the vaccine finder tool. Check with your physician's office or regular walk-in clinic about getting vaccinated against the flu.
  • Stay Home – Stay home from work or school if you are sick. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness.
  • Cover Your Cough – Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze. Then, throw the tissue away. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Keep Clean – Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as door handles, water faucets, refrigerator handles, and telephones.
  • Wash Your Hands – Wash your hands often with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Rest and Exercise – Get plenty of rest, physical activity, and eat healthy to stay healthy.

The symptoms of influenza, which tend to come on suddenly, can include a sore throat, coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. People who become severely ill with influenza-like symptoms should see a physician.
 
For more information about influenza, and how to prevent the spread of the flu in your home, workplace, school, or community, visit the Minnesota Department of health website at www.mdhflu.com.


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Minnesota Bridges Go Gold for After-School Programs

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Categories: Education


Minnesota students participating in after-school science programs

A student’s learning does not end at the school bell. Even though a child spends most of their time outside of the classroom, educators can keep students engaged by offering high-quality after-school programs to extend the learning day.

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed October 23 Lights on Afterschool Day, connecting Minnesota to a national celebration of after-school programming. More than 90 after-school programs throughout the state will host events on Thursday, and in recognition of this, the lights on the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge and the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis will glow gold tomorrow evening. The iconic Empire State Building in New York City will shine with the same color that night, connecting the Midwest to celebrations across the country.

This will be the 15th annual Lights on Afterschool celebration, which is organized by The Afterschool Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for more investment in them.


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Governor Dayton proclaims week of October 19-25 to be “Minnesota Manufacturers Week”

Posted on October 20, 2014 at 3:12 PM
Categories: Technology, Jobs, Economy

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Governor Mark Dayton at a plant tour during the Minnesota Manufacturers' Week


Minnesota’s manufacturing industry is a critical part of the state economy – employing one out of every nine workers in our state. In honor of their contributions to our state, Governor Dayton has proclaimed this week to be “Minnesota Manufacturers Week.” The Governor’s proclamation highlights the important role manufacturers’ play in the success of the state as well as ample opportunities for employment.

“Last year, manufacturing contributed over $43 billion to our state's economy and employed over 300,000 workers,” said Governor Dayton. “This week we celebrate the hard work and many accomplishments of Minnesota’s manufacturers, and reaffirm our commitment to their continuing success."

About 307,000 people work in manufacturing in Minnesota, primarily in such areas as computer and electronic products, foods, fabricated metal products and machinery. Manufacturing contributes $43.7 billion to the state economy – 16 percent of Minnesota’s gross domestic product – and the industry accounted for $19.3 billion in state exports last year.

Salaries in the sector are much higher than most other industries in the state because many manufacturing jobs require high-tech skills to operate advanced technology and computer-controlled equipment. The average manufacturing position in the state paid $59,565 last year, over $10,000 more than the typical job in Minnesota.

In recognition of Minnesota Manufacturers' Week, activities including plant tours, keynote speakers and educational activities are planned to help promote the growing industry. To read more about Minnesota Manufacturers' Week or to schedule a tour of a facility, visit http://mn.gov/deed

If you are interested in the manufacturing industry, here are additional resources:

  • To find a plant tour near you, click here
  • For job opportunities in the manufacturing industry, click here
  • To explore careers in manufacturing, click here 
  • To learn about the upcoming Scott County Career Fair, click here

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Unison Comfort Technologies Expanding Minneapolis Operations

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM
Categories: Jobs

Unison Comfort Technologies, a manufacturer of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for the commercial sector, is expanding its facilities in north Minneapolis and will add 75 jobs. The company, headquartered at 60 28th Ave. N., said it is expanding because of increased demand for its HVAC products, which include air handling equipment, rooftop units, energy recovery systems, dehumidification units, and heating and cooling coils. The company plans to invest $627,000 in the expansion and will create jobs paying an average salary of $16.90 an hour.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is assisting with the expansion with a $400,000 grant from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund. The company will receive the funding after meeting its hiring and investment commitments.

The Job Creation Fund, which was first proposed by Governor Mark Dayton to encourage job growth in Minnesota, will award $24 million in business incentives that were approved in the 2013 legislative session. Officials said the program is helping the state to compete for new jobs and businesses.
“The Minnesota Job Creation Fund is working, helping businesses expand and create thousands of new jobs across Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “I congratulate Unison Comfort Technologies for their success, and thank the company for the 75 good-paying jobs this expansion will create.”


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Governor Dayton Heads to Mall of America for Lindau Lane Reopening

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Commerce

On Friday, Governor Dayton visited the Mall of America in Bloomington to celebrate the completion of the Lindau Lane road improvement project. Thanks to $15.4 million in funding from the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature, the Mall of America’s more than 40 million visitors will notice some improvements starting this fall.

Governor Dayton joined local leaders as the new Lindau Lane Corridor opened to traffic, reducing congestion for those heading to the Mall of America. The new corridor project also is expected to foster economic development in Bloomington and provide safer access to parking for the largest shopping mall in the United States.

“This project will greatly improve the flow of traffic for cars and pedestrians entering the Mall,” said Governor Dayton. “It will improve safety, support commerce, and help eliminate the backlog of traffic that we have seen pile up for years at this intersection.”


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Governor Dayton Announces $70 Million Investment in 13 New Corridors of Commerce Transportation Projects

Posted on October 07, 2014 at 2:48 PM
Categories: Outdoors, Greater Minnesota, Public Safety, Transportation

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Governor Dayton announces Corridors of Commerce transportation projects


Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the acceleration of 13 more transportation projects in addition to the 14 prior to date. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested in the Corridors of Commerce initiative, which will be funding twelve of these plans. The final project – the expansion of Highway 371 to four lanes from Nisswa to Jenkins – was funded in part by $45 million in cost savings at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

“These projects will reduce travel times, improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Governor Dayton, who working with the Legislature in 2013 and 2014 invested over $331 million in the new Corridors of Commerce initiative. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding.”

State savings through efficiencies will accelerate the Highway 371 expansion project by two years, which means that MnDOT will begin construction in 2016, two years earlier than planned.  This was made possible with funding from new investments in the Corridors of Commerce initiative, as well as the cost savings. Altogether, 27 transportation projects have received Corridors of Commerce funding since November 2013.


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MnDOT encourages schools, communities to participate in International Walk to School Day, Oct. 8

Posted on October 07, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education, Transportation, Environment

ST. PAUL, MN — More than 40 schools statewide are participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 8, to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organizations to get out on sidewalks and trails. The event is anticipated to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 countries around the world.
 
This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe locations to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option also can be used for students who are usually driven to school in private vehicles.
 
“Participating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and building connections between families, schools and communities,” -Nicole Campbell, Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator. 

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Last year's International Walk to School Day at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis


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Governor Dayton Meets with Students and Teachers at Congdon Park Elementary in Duluth

Posted on October 06, 2014 at 2:25 PM
Categories: Greater Minnesota, Education

ST. PAUL, MN – With the first month behind them, thousands of students across the state are settling into their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year. Governor Dayton visited Duluth today, meeting with kindergarten students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary.
 
Since 2011, the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $895 million in schools. This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners will benefit from free all-day kindergarten, while others will benefit from high-impact initiatives designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.

“As Minnesota’s students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year,” said Governor Dayton. “During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will improve academic achievement and prepare our students for future success.” 

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Governor Dayton visits with all-day kindergarten students at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth


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Governor Dayton Proclaims “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”

Posted on October 02, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Categories: Human Rights

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed October to be “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” to honor victims, celebrate survivors, and support efforts to end the violence. Despite increasing awareness of domestic violence, it remains a problem in Minnesota and across the United States. Last year, more than 63,000 Minnesotans sought assistance from domestic violence programs. But, that number reflects just a small fraction of victims – with only one-in-five victims seeking help. Overall, one-in-three Minnesota women has been a victim of domestic violence.


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Worthington to host Pheasant Opener in October

Posted on September 24, 2014 at 4:19 PM
Categories: Outdoors

Governor Dayton at last year's opener

Worthington is proudly known for its annual “King Turkey Day,” but this southwestern Minnesota town will now be rolling out the red carpet for another tasty bird. Next month, the 2014 Governor’s Pheasant Opener will be held in Worthington, which offers hunters several thousand acres of prime public land.

This year’s Worthington Opener is expected to be a productive one for Minnesota hunters. The 2014 Pheasant hunting survey shows that southwestern Minnesota is expected to have some of the best conditions across the state this fall. 

However, hunting is hardly the only fun activity available to visitors. The Worthington area is home to great fishing, biking, and hiking opportunities as well, and for those looking for a less rigorous vacation, Worthington and surrounding communities offer great restaurants, golf courses, and museums.


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Governor Takes Executive Actions to Protect Children from Abuse

Posted on September 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Categories: Health


View on YouTube 

Governor Mark Dayton today took a series of executive actions to protect children in Minnesota from the threat of abuse and neglect. These efforts include both immediate changes to the child protection system, and the establishment of a new Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children. The Task Force, appointed by the Governor, will make specific recommendations for comprehensive improvements to the child protection system in the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session.

“The abuse of any child in Minnesota is one child too many,” said Governor Dayton. “No child should have to suffer from the violence or neglect of a family member or other adult. I look forward to the recommendations of this new Task Force, and I urge the Legislature to act on them in January.”

Minnesota ranks among the top five states in child well-being. Still, in recent years some children have fallen through the cracks of the child protection system, suffering maltreatment and even death from violent abuse. The executive actions taken by Governor Dayton today will strengthen protections for children, and enhance the accountability and vigilance of state and local child protection systems.


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Reading Well Early Drives Future School Success

Posted on September 22, 2014 at 2:35 PM
Categories: Education

Governor reading to Kindergartners

Students who master the fundamentals of reading at an early age are better prepared for future academic success. As our kids are exposed to more advanced concepts their ability to learn becomes increasingly linked to their literacy. In math classes, students may be asked to do word problems, while in a science or history class they may be assigned a reading out of a textbook – all of which require strong language skills.

To help our students develop the strong reading skills they need, we launched the bipartisan “Read Well by Third Grade” in 2011. Since then, we have invested $150 million in high-impact literacy programs that helping ensure all Minnesota students are developing the reading skills they need for academic success and bright futures.


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New Investments Improving Access to Healthy School Meals

Posted on September 17, 2014 at 2:12 PM
Categories: Budget, Education

Governor Dayton serves breakfast to students alongside Coon Rapids staff.

Governor Dayton serves lunch to students alongside Coon Rapids staff.

Ensuring that Minnesota students are ready to learn when they enter the classroom is critical to improving academic progress and preparing kids for bright futures. To help guarantee that our students have access to healthy meals, we invested $4 million in school breakfast and lunch programs this year. In addition to ensuring no Minnesota student is denied access to a healthy meal at lunchtime, the funding also will provide all 64,000 Minnesota Kindergarten students breakfast.

“No child in Minnesota should be denied a healthy lunch,” said Governor Dayton. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach."


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Making College More Affordable

Posted on September 10, 2014 at 2:55 PM
Categories: Education, Budget

Access to higher education is crucial to ensure that Minnesota has a competitive workforce that is prepared to fill the jobs of the future. That is why the budget enacted by Governor Dayton and the legislature makes a significant investment in college affordability and improving our state colleges and universities. By investing $250 million in higher education, with $46 million going to direct financial aid for students, the budget brings the dream of a higher education within reach for even more Minnesotans.


Governor Dayton with Minnesota Youth

Governor Dayton Mingles with Minnesota Youth


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Governor Dayton Reconvenes Stakeholders for Discussion on Propane Supply and Demand

Posted on September 09, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Categories: Trade Mission, Environment, Public Safety, Outdoors

For more than 200,000 households in Minnesota, propane is the primary source of heat. With winter steadily approaching, Governor Mark Dayton is reconvening stakeholders today in Saint Paul to discuss the current propane supply and any factors that could impact demand for heating fuel this winter.
 
After an unprecedented propane shortage last winter, Governor Dayton is convening today’s propane summit in a proactive effort to help mitigate propane supply shortages in the winter months ahead. The Governor will be joined by representatives from the propane, agriculture and rail industries as well as his Commissioners of Agriculture, Commerce, Pollution Control, and Transportation for the discussion.
 
“During last winter’s propane shortage, this group worked to ensure the safety of all Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton, who first convened propane stakeholders and state regulators last January. “Working together in the months ahead, they will do everything possible to prevent shortages, reduce drastic price increases, and provide all Minnesotans with fuel for the fall harvest and for their winter comfort and safety.”


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Freezing Tuition at Public Colleges and Universities

Posted on September 08, 2014 at 8:10 AM
Categories: Education, Greater Minnesota

Governor Dayton talks about the tuition freeze with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato

Governor Mark Dayton speaks with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

After nearly a decade of cuts to higher education funding, tuition skyrocketed at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). From 2001 to 2014, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $13,626 for state residents. Left unchecked, ever increasing tuition costs and increasing debt are a tax on the future of Minnesota students and a drag on our state’s economy.

Access to a high-quality education should be available to all Minnesotans and not just students who can afford to take on costly loans. In 2013, we froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes. This helped make college more affordable for 282,000 students.

Minnesotans agree that everyone who works hard in school deserves access to higher education. This tuition freeze begins to restore balance in Minnesota’s educational system. It also will help ensure our students for the future economy.


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Minnesota’s littlest learners benefiting from All-Day Kindergarten

Posted on September 04, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Categories: Education


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KEYC 12 News in Mankato reports on impact of all-day Kindergarten

As Minnesota students return to the classroom, our littlest learners are set to benefit from some big new investments. In 2013, we made a historic investment in all-day Kindergarten, ensuring every Minnesota student has access, free of charge. After a year to get ready, all Minnesota schools are now offering all-day Kindergarten to our families this fall.

This investment is sure to make a big difference for our students. All-Day Kindergarten has a proven track record of success, preparing young learners for success in school.


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On the first day of school, Governor Dayton wishes students and teachers success

Posted on September 02, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Governor Dayton greets school children

This morning Governor Dayton visited Garden City Elementary in Brooklyn Center to wish students and teachers success in school.

This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners will benefit from free all-day Kindergarten. Students will also benefit from additional efforts designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.

“As Minnesota’s students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year,” said Governor Dayton. “During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will increase academic achievement and prepare our students for future success.”

Investments in E-12 Education

These historic investments, and other important reforms, will give Minnesota students the world-class education they need to succeed in school and prepare for bright futures. Below are some of the initiatives that are helping Minnesota students succeed.


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Why Minnesota Families Choose College

Posted on August 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Categories: Education


“I’m in college because I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for my future, my kids, years from now. I’m also doing it because my family back home wants me to succeed. So it’s about me, it’s about my future, and it’s about my family back home.”

This is just one of the many voices represented in “Shaping your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College.” The Minnesota Department of Education partnered with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) to produce this series of videos about the importance of planning for career and college. College students from all over Minnesota were interviewed about their experiences growing up, the challenges they faced, how they wanted their lives to be different from their parents’ lives, and how they felt they wanted more for themselves. Their stories are featured in individual 2-3 minute videos, and there are also stories on the importance of parental support when planning for college and career. Stop by MDE’s booth at the fair to check out the videos, or watch them on our YouTube page at http://bit.ly/mndeptedtv.


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Minnesota Report Card

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Minnesota Report Card webpage screenshot

The Minnesota Report Card is a new website that gives you easy access to understandable district and school data. This tool is designed to provide parents, educators, schools, districts and citizens with easy access to district and school information, test results, revenue and expenditure data, demographic information and other critical data in a centralized location


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Senior LinkAge Line® 20 years of serving Minnesota’s seniors

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 10:12 AM
Categories: Seniors

Cliff Vrieze, Senior LinkAge Line User

Cliff Vrieze of Spring Valley began looking into Medicare enrollment just before his 65th birthday four years ago. Without help, this proved to be a frustrating and confusing experience. But Katie, certified Medicare counselor and aging expert at Senior LinkAge Line®, explained Medicare and answered all of Cliff’s questions.

This August, the Senior LinkAge Line® celebrates 20 years of serving older Minnesotans and their families by connecting them at no cost to the resources they need. The Senior LinkAge Line® is marking this milestone by unveiling a new 20-year anniversary logo, which will be prominently featured at the Minnesota Board on Aging’s booth in the Education Building at the Minnesota State Fair.

The Senior LinkAge Line®, 1-800-333-2433, has grown in breadth and depth of services since it was first established by the Minnesota Board on Aging in 1994. Most recently, under the Dayton-Prettner Solon Administration, the Senior Linkage Line® has become a One Stop Shop for Minnesota Seniors, helping callers to access services in other state agencies, find out about volunteer and employment opportunities and information about “Own Your Future” so they can plan for long-term care as they age.


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Helping Part-Time College Students Succeed

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Part-time students gain from State Grant

We all know that education is critical to a bright future. In fact, by 2018 an estimated 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school. And right now, only 40 percent of Minnesotans hold post secondary degrees. Closing this higher education gap is critical to helping all Minnesotans get great jobs in the future and growing our economy.

However, the rising cost of higher education is putting college out of reach for many.  Currently, Minnesota has the third highest student debt rate in the United States with the average graduate leaving school with $29,800 in debt. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature expanded Minnesota’s State Grant Program to an additional 15,000 students so that more students could get an affordable education.


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Letter from the Commissioner

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 1:31 PM

MnDOT booth state fair 2014

Minnesota's Department of Transportation booth at the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is an incredible event. People from all over the state travel to Falcon Heights to eat new foods, learn a few things and to watch people.

Getting to the fair is probably the most important step. And there are many options, buses, bicycles, cars and even on foot. All of those modes use some part of Minnesota’s large and diverse transportation network.

In Minnesota, each of us interacts with the transportation system each and every day. We go to work or to school. We stop at the store, buy fuel and maybe go to a restaurant. There are kids’ soccer games and movies to see.


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Governor Dayton Proclaims Minnesota State Patrol Day

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

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Governor Dayton presents the proclamation to the Minnesota State Patrol

Governor Dayton proclaimed today to be “Minnesota State Patrol Day” in conjunction with State Patrol Day at the State Fair. The proclamation recognizes Minnesota’s state troopers for their commitment to public safety. Every day, state troopers work to keep our highways safe, while also assisting other law enforcement agencies, carrying out search and rescue missions, and leading Minnesota’s homeland security efforts.


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Summer Nudging Initiative Increasing College Enrollment

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 3:10 PM

  Minnesota students preparing for college

Incoming college students not only face academic challenges, but also struggle to navigate the required paperwork. New students must fill out forms for financial aid, registration, housing, courses, and meal plans. For first-generation college students without a parent or guardian already familiar with the system – the mounting paperwork can present a major barrier to higher education.

To help our incoming college students, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education started its “Summer Nudging” initiative to help guide students through the process. Students who sign up for the program get regular text message reminders with dates and deadlines for critical registration paperwork.



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See you at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair!

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

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Stop by and visit us at the Great Minnesota Get together! Follow #Didyouknow to learn more about the work Minnesota state agencies are doing to make users’ experiences better, and simpler. You can find out more at the #MNStateFair

This week marks the beginning of the 2014 Minnesota State Fair! At more than a dozen state agency booths across the State Fair, fair-goers will be able to find more information about the work State Agencies are doing to make government better, faster, and simpler. 

These reforms have saved Minnesotans time and money – including reducing expensive and time-consuming paperwork, and creating new online solutions for permit applications. Over the last four years, Minnesota state agencies have reduced waiting times for vehicle registrations from 90 days to just 10 days, cut environmental permit waits by over 40 percent, and made hunting and fishing licenses available on smartphones. To learn more about these and other initiatives, come and find us at the fair!


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After 6-Year Wait, Mankato Civic Center Expansion to Be Completed

Posted on August 13, 2014 at 1:47 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy, Greater Minnesota

Mankato Civic Center Expansion

The expansion of the Mankato Civic Center has been six years in the making. And thanks to the 2014 Jobs Bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton last May, the project is finally on track to be completed. The Jobs Bill enacted during the last session provided $14.5 million to add an auditorium, additional meeting rooms, and renovate the ice arena. The Civic Center expansion is expected to create more than 450 new construction jobs and generate an annual $50 million economic impact.

“This project was long overdue,” said Governor Dayton. “The expansion of the Mankato Civic Center will add hundreds of new jobs, and bring thousands more visitors to Mankato every year. I congratulate the many community leaders who worked for years to complete this important project.”

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Governor Dayton Proclaims Farm Family Recognition Day

Posted on August 07, 2014 at 4:51 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Economy, Jobs, Greater Minnesota

Governor Dayton greets a family at FarmFest 

Today Governor Dayton traveled to Redwood, MN to speak in a forum at Minnesota’s annual Farmfest. To recognize the contributions to our state and their community, Governor Dayton has proclaimed August 7, 2014 Farm Family Recognition Day in honor of the 66,000 family-owned and operated farms across the state.

Family farms make up the backbone of Minnesota’s economy. From raising livestock to maintaining crops, Minnesota relies on farm family communities to build and sustain Minnesota agriculture and economy. Farm Families of Minnesota generate over 3 billion dollars in exports and are in strong support of renewable energy efforts.

“Minnesota is the fifth largest producer of agricultural products in the nation,” said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Agriculture generates an estimated $90 billion in economic activity in this state.”

Farmfest is an annual agricultural fair that celebrates these accomplishments. With a packed schedule, this gathering offers livestock handling, panel discussions, crafts, seminars and entertainment. Each year the University of Minnesota presents the Farm Family of the Year Award which recognizes 70 Minnesota farm families who have contributed to our state's’ agricultural economy and their communities. 

It is important to acknowledge Minnesota Farm families not only for their fundamental role in Minnesota agricultural economy, but also as community members that make Minnesota a better place. Governor Mark Dayton fully supports and promotes local farming here in Minnesota. Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton and the Department of Agriculture have implemented the following initiatives:


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Redwood Falls Proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon City

Posted on August 07, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Categories: Greater Minnesota, Veterans, Military Servicemembers

Redwood_Falls_Proclaimed_Yellow_Ribbon_City 

Redwood Falls is now recognized as a Yellow Ribbon city.

Redwood Falls, Minnesota was recognized as a Yellow Ribbon city during the Yellow Ribbon Proclamation ceremony today, August 7, 2014. The Yellow Ribbon Recognition Program pays tribute to communities and companies with an exceptional record of caring, commitment, and compassion for service members, veterans, and their families through various programs and public works.

"The men and women of the Minnesota National Guard, other U.S. Forces, and their families, have earned our admiration and appreciation," said Governor Mark Dayton. "They have also earned our continuing assistance. I thank the Redwood Falls community for joining nearly 300 Yellow Ribbon cities, counties, and businesses, who have committed to support our Minnesota heroes, when they return home."

Because of the efforts of the people of Redwood Falls, service members, veterans, and their families enjoy peace of mind knowing they have the appreciation, love, and support of people in Minnesota and the nation.


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Governor Dayton Invests for Success in our Schools

Posted on August 07, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton meeting with the Cannon Falls High School Band

Governor Dayton meeting with the Cannon Falls High School Band

With the first day of school just weeks away for many districts, Governor Mark Dayton met yesterday with nearly 300 school superintendents from across Minnesota to discuss the status of education in our state. Governor Dayton reviewed the progress Minnesota has made over the last four years to reinvest in our schools, support our students and teachers, and ensure that all children have access to a world-class education.

“When I campaigned four years ago, I talked about a better Minnesota in general,” said Governor Dayton. “In particular, with education I said that I would set aside money and increase spending in real dollars for education every year, with no excuses and no exceptions. I’m proud and pleased to say that I’ve kept that promise.”

After a decade of stagnant funding and budget cuts, Governor Dayton has reinvested in our schools. Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton has invested $895 million in E-12 education, paid back all the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools, and frozen tuition or increased financial aid for more than 482,000 Minnesota college students and graduates. These major investments will give Minnesota students the high-quality education they need to succeed in school and life and compete in today’s global economy.


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Jobs Are Coming To Brooklyn Park

Posted on August 06, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Groundbreaking of two new business expansions in Brooklyn Park made possible by new state investments in the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and the Corridors of Commerce initiative

Groundbreaking of two new business expansions in Brooklyn Park made possible by new state investments in the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and the Corridors of Commerce initiative.

This afternoon, at the intersection of Highway 169 and Highway 610, Governor Mark Dayton and DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben broke ground on the site of two new business expansions in Brooklyn Park. When the new North Cross Business Park is completed, it will be home to the newly-expanded PERBIX Machines and Wurth Adams Nut & Bolt, employing 345 Minnesota workers and creating dozens of new jobs.

These new business expansions were made possible in part by Governor Dayton’s investments in the Minnesota Job Creation Fund and the Corridors of Commerce initiative:


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Governor Dayton Orders Flags Flown at Half-Staff in Honor of Police Officer Scott Patrick  

Posted on August 05, 2014 at 11:12 AM

In honor and remembrance of Police Officer Scott Patrick, Governor Mark Dayton has ordered all United States flags and Minnesota flags be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the State of Minnesota, from sunrise until sunset, on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
 
Police Officer Patrick was 47 years old and a nineteen-year veteran of the Mendota Heights, Minnesota Police Department, and the department’s senior officer. Officer Patrick was a native of the West Side of Saint Paul, and felt called to be an officer because of his desire to help others.  He was a dedicated public servant, with a friendly demeanor, contagious smile and laugh, and a sincere and genuine approach to life and work.
 
Officer Patrick was a family man — a devoted father to his two teenage daughters, Erin and Amy; a loving husband to his wife of 26 years and high school sweetheart, Michelle; and a center point of his immediate and extended family.
 
Officer Patrick died on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, after being shot in the line of duty. He is preceded in death by his mother, Patricia, and his brother, Mike, and will be remembered and loved by his wife, Michelle; children, Erin and Amy; father, Richard; siblings; and many other relatives, friends, and community members.
 
The State of Minnesota recognizes Officer Scott Patrick for his dedicated service to, and sacrifice for, his fellow citizens of Minnesota with its deepest gratitude, and all thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and entire community.
 
A celebration of Scott’s life, with full police honors, will be held on Wednesday, August 6, 2014, at Saint Stephen’s Lutheran Church in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, followed by interment at Acacia Park Cemetery.
 
At the direction of the Governor, Minnesota flies its flags at half-staff following the death of Minnesota police officers killed in the line of duty, on the day of interment. A copy of Governor Dayton’s proclamation, ordering flags to be flown at half-staff across our state, can be found on the Governor’s website here.


Flags at Half-Staff

Flags at Half-StaffIn keeping with appropriate flag etiquette and U.S. Code, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton may order the state flag to be flown at half-staff under very limited circumstances. He may also order the national flag to be flown at half-staff on state property only. A state flag on state property is required by law to be flown at half-staff if the national flag is flown at half-staff.

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Polaris Partners with Minnesota Job Creation Fund for Twin Cities Expansion

Posted on August 04, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

Polaris R&D facility in Wyoming, MN

Illustration of Polaris's R&D facility in Wyoming, MN constructed last year in 2013, employing 675 workers. Image courtesy of Polaris Industries.

Polaris Industries Inc., manufacturer of innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles, is creating 100 new jobs in conjunction with a $20 million office expansion project in Plymouth.

The Medina-based company says it plans to buy and renovate an existing 120,000-square-foot building that will house off-road vehicles, both military and commercial, parts, garments and accessories and related business. About 400 employees, many of whom are currently located at other local Polaris sites, are expected to work in the building.


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Minimum Wage Increase Benefits Thousands of Minnesota Families

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Categories: Economy, Reform, Jobs


On Friday, thousands of Minnesota’s lowest-wage workers will get a well-earned raise. Friday’s increase will bring the new wage to $8.00 per hour – the first increase in the state’s minimum wage in nearly a decade. The minimum wage increase signed by Governor Mark Dayton will raise the wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016, and index it to inflation to help ensure Minnesotans’ wages keep up with the cost of living.

"Minnesotans who work full-time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty and achieve the American Dream," said Gov. Mark Dayton. "Raising the minimum wage will improve the lives of more than 325,000 hard-working Minnesotans. I thank the Legislature for recognizing the need to make work pay in Minnesota."

Before Minnesota’s new wage goes into effect, our current wage of $6.15 per hour Minnesota was one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation – lower than neighboring Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In fact, Minnesota was one of only four states in the country with a minimum wage below the national rate of $7.25 per hour.


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SRC Plant Expands; Will Add Up to 30 Skilled Jobs

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs

Super Radiator Coils (SRC) recently broke ground at its manufacturing facility in Minnesota to build a 22,000 s.f. addition to meet demand for heat exchanger coils that are used at nuclear power plants, as well as other applications. The company previously expanded its original 65,000 s.f. plant in 2012 with a 13,000 s.f. addition to build the same equipment. 

The company is one of only three manufacturers in the world that are certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to meet its high quality standards for nuclear power plant equipment and to display the society’s “N-Stamp” on its coils. The company also has a 110,000 sq. ft. plant in Richmond, VA, and two facilities in Phoenix, AZ, that total 65,000 sq. ft.

SRC will provide most of the funding itself for the new addition, but the company has been approved to receive a $287,500 grant from the Job Creation Fund of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). In addition, it will receive a $150,000 loan from the Carver County Business Loan Fund.

“The Minnesota Job Creation Fund was launched just seven months ago, but it has already helped more than a dozen businesses across the state expand, creating hundreds of new jobs,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I thank Super Radiator Coils for this important expansion, and for the up to 30 new jobs this project will create.”

The new $4 million addition will result in the new jobs being created over the next three years for highly skilled workers, according to Rob Holt, SRC’s President and CEO. The privately held company employs more than 350 people at its three facilities.


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Minnesota Cities Top National Lists For Business, Happiness

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 4:12 PM
Categories: Economy, Commerce, Jobs

Skyline of Rochester, ranked 2nd happiest city in the nation

Photo Content: Flickr User cursedthing, Rochester, MN

Minnesota Cities Stand Out on National List of Best Places To Do Business

Minnesota received more good economic news yesterday. Three Minnesota cities ranked among the top 25 smaller cities in the country to do business and have a career. Mankato ranked third on the national list, followed by Rochester (23rd) and St. Cloud (24th).
 
The analysis, conducted by Forbes Magazine, considered U.S. cities with populations of less than 250,000. Forbes weighed several factors in making its rankings, including:


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Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program will help train Netgain employees in Saint Cloud

Posted on July 22, 2014 at 3:47 PM
Categories: Economy, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded a $147,739 grant to St. Cloud State University to train 84 employees of Netgain.
  
The grant was awarded under the agency’s Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program. The program works strategically with both businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state. In this grant, the program leverages nearly $162,000 from Netgain, an IT provider for the health care industry.
 
“The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program has responded to business workforce needs by training more than 260,000 Minnesotans,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “In this collaborative project, the entire Netgain workforce will gain the technical and leadership skills necessary to provide the highest level of service possible, advance their careers and keep the company competitive in the rapidly changing health care industry.”

With support from Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program has awarded $23.5 million since 2011 to train 30,535 workers and has leveraged $56.4 million in private funding.

MJSP funding will partner with SCSU to provide training in five main topics: Health Care in the United States, Building Business Communication Skills in the Health Care Industry, Netgain Client Experience, Advancing Netgain Technical Knowledge and Skills, and Netgain Management/Leadership in Health Care IT. An Interactive Presentation System will be purchased for in-class and distance learning. SCSU will also use the system for future onsite training and special events.
 
For information on the grant, contact Tammy Anhalt-Warner, SCSU, 320-308-4252.


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Governor Dayton Meets with Local Leaders to Discuss Next Steps on Lewis & Clark Water Project

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 11:37 AM
Categories: Environment, Greater Minnesota, Health

A section of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System being constructed in South Dakota

A section of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System being constructed in South Dakota

Governor Mark Dayton traveled to Luverne last week to meet with local officials and area legislators to discuss next steps in advancing the construction of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. Governor Dayton listened, asked questions, and offered his continued support to ensure the project continues on course toward completion. The Governor stressed that the project is essential to maintaining a high quality of life in southwestern Minnesota, and in supporting the continued economic growth of the entire region.

“This project is critically important to the people and businesses of southwestern Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Without it, business growth would be stifled, new jobs would be lost, and residents would continue being forced to buy bottled water. I will continue doing everything possible to see this project through to completion.

A shortage of water in communities across southwestern Minnesota is stifling economic growth in the region, and diminishing the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens. Luverne’s isobutanol plant has expressed wishes to expand, but that expansion has been hampered due to a lack of available water in the area. The quality of aquifer water in many communities is so poor that residents have been forced to drink bottled water.


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Minnesota: Gaining Jobs

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 1:49 PM
Categories: Economy, Jobs

Governor breaking ground for $70 million maurices office building in Duluth - adding 900 jobs

Governor Dayton breaking ground for maurices office building in Duluth - one of the many companies adding hundreds of job in Minnesota

Minnesota received more good economic news today. Today’s jobs report, released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), showed the state added 8,500 jobs in June. And the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent last month – the lowest it has been in seven years. In total, Minnesota has added nearly 160,000 new jobs since Governor Dayton took office in January 2011.

Governor Dayton, members of his Cabinet, and other key stakeholders gathered today at the University of Minnesota to discuss how the state can continue adding jobs in Minnesota’s growing clean energy sector. Tens of thousands of Minnesotans are employed already in clean energy jobs. As Minnesota builds on our nation-leading renewable energy policies, the Governor and his Administration are committed to growing the jobs that come along with it.


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Governor Helps Break Ground on Owatonna Business Expansion

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Daikin Groundbreaking Ceremony

Governor Mark Dayton pictured with employees of Daikin Applied Americas at the July 11, 2014 groundbreaking ceremony.

OWATONNA, MN – This morning, Governor Mark Dayton helped break ground on a $9 million expansion of Daikin Applied Americas’ manufacturing facility in Owatonna. The new expansion, which received $1.45 million in state assistance from the state’s Minnesota Job Creation Fund and Minnesota Investment Fund, will create 40 new jobs in Owatonna with wages and benefits averaging $31 per hour.
 
“The Minnesota Job Creation Fund was launched just six months ago. It has already helped finance business expansions, like Daikin Applied’s, throughout our state, which have added hundreds of new jobs,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Daikin Applied for its very important expansion in Owatonna and for its continued commitment to Minnesota.”
 
Daikin Applied is one of 15 companies that have received assistance from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund over the last six months to help finance a business expansion in Minnesota. Altogether, Daikin Applied received $880,000 from the Fund. In 2013, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $24 million in the initiative, which provides up to $1 million to qualifying businesses planning to expand and create new jobs in Minnesota.
 
Daikin Applied also received $600,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund for its expansion. In 2013, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $30 million of ongoing funding in the initiative, which provides financing to help add new workers and retain high-quality jobs on a statewide basis. Between 2005 and 2012, the program saw an 86 percent decline in state funding. But new, ongoing funding provided by Governor Dayton and the Legislature is projected to help create thousands of new jobs and leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment in the state’s economy.
 
About Daikin
Daikin Applied, a member of Daikin Industries, Ltd., manufactures commercial HVAC systems. Daikin Industries, Ltd. is a Fortune 1000 company with more than 51,000 employees worldwide, making it the largest HVAC manufacturer in the world. Daikin is engaged primarily in the development, manufacture, sales and aftermarket support of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment.


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Governor Dayton Opens Schwan’s USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM
Categories: Bonding, Sports, Jobs

Governor Dayton shaking the hand of Norwegian soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft

Governor Dayton shaking the hand of Norwegian Soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft

Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the National Sports Center in Blaine to provide the welcoming remarks and participate in the Handshake for Peace with Norwegian Soccer star Jan Aage Fjortoft for the opening ceremony of the Schwan’s USA Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament. 

This year, Schwan’s USA Cup is celebrating its 30th anniversary—marking three decades of bringing youth soccer players from around the world for competition and fellowship. Over the years, the Schwan’s USA Cup has become one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the western hemisphere, with 1,060 teams presenting 15,000 athletes from 21 states and 19 countries participating. 

The National Sports Center already attracts 4 million visitors each year—more than any other sports facility in Minnesota. It is currently the largest soccer complex in the world. To help ensure that Blaine remains a center for youth athletics and the home of this remarkable tournament, the 2014 Jobs Bill signed by Governor Dayton included funding for the National Sports Center. The new resources will be used to acquire land and develop at least 20 tournament athletic fields for soccer, lacrosse, and rugby. 

More on the Handshake for Peace
The Handshake for Peace was created by the Norwegian Football Association and the Nobel Peace Center in 2012. The handshake occurs at the beginning of each game before or after a match as a symbol of friendship, respect, fair play, and good sportsmanship. It has since been adopted by FIFA and will make its debut in the United States at the Schwan’s USA Cup. 


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Minnesota: A National Leader in Health Care

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Categories: Health

Congrats Mayo Clinic

This week, Minnesota again demonstrated why our state is a national leader in health care. New Dayton Administration reforms launched in 2013 to provide better care at lower costs have saved more than $10.5 million in just one year. And today, Mayo Clinic was named the best hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
 
This news comes after Minnesota saw a more than 41 percent decline in our uninsured rate – giving our state the second-lowest uninsured rate in the nation. And last month, Minnesota ranked first in the nation on AARP’s long-term care scorecard, demonstrating our state’s commitment to providing high-quality care to disabled and older Minnesotans.
 
Read more below:

  • Nation-Leading Reforms Save $10.5 Million in First Year
  • Mayo Clinic Ranked Best Hospital in the Nation
  • Minnesota’s Uninsured Rate Drops More than 40 Percent
  • Minnesota Has Best Long-Term Care in the Nation

NATION-LEADING REFORMS SAVE $10.5 MILLION IN FIRST YEAR
Minnesota’s new, nation-leading approach to delivering better quality health care at lower costs is paying off. In the first year of a pilot program announced by the Department of Human Services and Governor Mark Dayton in 2013, six health care providers serving 100,000 Minnesotans spent $10.5 million less than projected – cost savings that will benefit Minnesota taxpayers.
 
What Governor Dayton is saying:

“Some people talk about reform. We do it. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to implement these cost-saving reforms – and we have proven that this new approach delivers results. I thank the health providers who have partnered with us on this initiative, making it possible to deliver better care to over 100,000 Minnesotans.”

MAYO CLINIC RANKED BEST HOSPITAL IN THE NATION
Today, Mayo Clinic achieved the highest honor in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of top hospitals, making it the best hospital in the country. Mayo Clinic earned more number one rankings than any other provider, ranking  number one or number two in 11 of the 12 specialties based on reputation, services and volumes, safety and clinical outcomes.
 
What Governor Dayton is saying:

“These rankings reaffirm what millions of patients and doctors around the world already know: Mayo Clinic offers the best medical care in the world. Thanks to the wise investment made by our State Legislature in the development of a Destination Medical Center, I am confident Mayo will continue its tradition of excellence into the future. Congratulations, Mayo!”

Watch what Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy is saying:


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Minnesota Department of Education Wins Innovation Award

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 4:18 PM

2014_07_11_MDE_Award.jpg

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius speaks with students

Congratulations to the Minnesota Department of Education! This week, MDE’s Regional Centers of Excellence program won the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs 2014 State Government Innovation Award. The awards recognize excellence in state government agencies and seek to encourage experimentation and innovation in Minnesota. Winners were judged based on a three-part set of criteria: innovation (40% of the score), impact (30%) and sustainability (30%). The winning agencies demonstrated significant improvements in service, progress, and impact of the program. 

To be considered, agencies had to demonstrate a performance management system for accountability, evaluations and program budgets. The winning agencies showcased programs that used technology in creative ways, targeted services to those most in need, and demonstrated collaboration and consolidation between organizations. An awards ceremony will be held Thursday, August 7, 2014 at the Minnesota History Center. Click here for more information.

Regional Centers of Excellence

The Minnesota Department of Education put in place Regional Centers of Excellence to focus schools and districts on closing achievement gaps between students. Center directors, regional staff, the Department of Education and service cooperatives work collaboratively to raise student achievement through support for all students. There are 6 centers across the State of Minnesota, serving the communities around Rochester, Sartell, Thief River Falls, Marshall, Fergus Falls and Mountain Iron.

Other Winners Include


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Governor Dayton helps celebrate 100th Anniversary of Toro

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 8:21 AM

gmd_toro_celebration.jpg
Left to right: Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead; Jeff Appelquist, author of Toro's recently released centennial book; Governor Mark Dayton (Minnesota); and Michael J. Hoffman, Toro's chairman and CEO (Photo: The Toro Company)

Governor Dayton traveled to Bloomington to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Toro yesterday. The company, which designs and manufactures lawn care and landscaping equipment, is one of the state’s largest companies – employing about 1,800 in Minnesota. 

“Part of the mentality of Toro is reaching out to its customers and to the communities, and developing high-quality products while strengthening your market through innovation,” said Governor Dayton. “I don’t think that the founder could have imagined 100 years ago that Toro would grow to be a Fortune 1000 company, or that more importantly, you’d be a leading corporate citizen in Minnesota. Your contributions to this state have been enormous.


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Cargill Recognized as a Yellow Ribbon Company

Posted on July 09, 2014 at 3:16 PM
Categories: Military Servicemembers, Jobs, Veterans

Governor Dayton recognizes Cargill as a Yellow Ribbon Company
Governor Dayton recognizes Cargill as a Yellow Ribbon Company

Minneapolis-based Cargill was recognized as a Yellow Ribbon company during a Yellow Ribbon Proclamation ceremony at Cargill’s Whitney MacMillan Auditorium in Hopkins, Minnesota on July 9, 2014. 

The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Proclamation recognizes the combined efforts of key areas within a company to support service members, veterans and military families and enable successful transition into the workplace for those who are returning from deployments. 

“The men and women of the Minnesota National Guard, other U.S. Forces, and their families, have earned our admiration and appreciation. They have also earned our continuing assistance,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. “I thank Cargill for joining over 200 Yellow Ribbon cities, counties, and businesses, who have committed to support our Minnesota heroes, when they return home.” 

In addition to the proclamation, Cargill re-signed the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s Statement of Support, further solidifying their commitment to supporting the service members Cargill employs.


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Governor Dayton thanks employers and Veterans at 2014 Minnesota Veterans Career Fair

Posted on July 09, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Governor Mark Dayton at the 2014 Veterans Career Fair

Governor Mark Dayton speaking at the the 2014 Veterans Career Fair.


Today, Governor Dayton traveled to the 2014 Minnesota Veterans Career Fair. At the Brooklyn Park event, the Governor thanked Minnesota employers for their continued commitment to hiring and supporting military veterans. The job fair, hosted by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, is the largest event in Minnesota for veteran job seekers.

“Hiring veterans is one of the best investments a business or organization can make,” said Governor Dayton. “Minnesota veterans have the skills employers are looking for, including leadership, intelligence, dedication, and loyalty. They offer the energy and know-how our economy needs. I thank the 140 employers who are participating in tomorrow’s Career Fair, and offer the state’s continued support to Minnesota’s heroes as they search for good jobs and new careers in our communities.”

Now in its eighth year, the Minnesota Veterans Career Fair has been quite successful in connecting veterans with jobs. Historically, 10 to 15 percent of veterans who have attended have found a received a job offer there.

And to make it easier for Minnesota veterans to pursue job opportunities, Governor Dayton and Hilton Hotels announced a new initiative yesterday to provide free accommodations to veterans. Under the new pilot program, veterans who are searching for employment, attending job interviews or skills training, or are looking for new housing in Minnesota, are eligible for three free nights at a Hilton Hotels location in our state.

According to Hilton Worldwide, the average hotel stay in the Twin Cities metropolitan area costs $200 per night. That means veterans who are eligible for free hotel accommodations can save up to $600 under the new pilot program.

Minnesota veterans seeking job opportunities should visit the Department of Employment and Economic Development website. On the website, veterans can find valuable resources to help them find a job or start a business.

 


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Attention Veterans: Largest Veterans Career Fair in Minnesota Will Be Held July 9

Posted on July 07, 2014 at 2:07 PM
Categories: Economy, Veterans, Jobs

Veteran discusses career opportunities 
Veteran discusses career opportunities with potential employer

ST. PAUL – The 2014 Minnesota Veterans Career Fair, the largest event in the state for military veterans who are looking for work, will be held in Brooklyn Center on Wednesday, July 9. Governor Mark Dayton will address employers and veterans in attendance.

The free event, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive. All current and former members of the U.S. military are welcome.

More than 140 Minnesota employers with job openings are scheduled to participate.

“Veterans are committed, creative and innovative in their pursuit of success, and Minnesota employers know that they are valuable members of the workforce,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “The annual Minnesota Veterans Career Fair is the largest career fair for veterans in the state, and is just one way we are working to reemploy our servicemen and women in meaningful careers.”

New to this year’s career fair, DEED and MACV will partner in a program called Suits for Soldiers to provide donated interview suits for participants. A limited number of suits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the event. 
Other highlights of the career fair include:
-- Employers will speak with veterans about current job openings and conduct interviews on site for open positions.
-- College representatives will discuss educational and training options.
-- Service providers will assist with employment-related needs, as well as provide information and referrals to nonwork-related services for veterans.
-- Workshops will be offered on job search techniques and starting a business.    


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From Infrastructure to Education, New Laws Going Into Effect in Minnesota

Posted on July 01, 2014 at 1:33 PM
Categories: Education, Economy, Reform, Human Rights, Health, Jobs

Governor Dayton Signing the Women's Economic Security Act

Governor Dayton signs the Women's Economic Security Act, one of several laws now taking effect. 

Governor Dayton is committed to improving state government – from investing in education and improving the state's infrastructure to taking steps to ensure high-quality health care. Through the work done in the 2014 legislative session, many great strides were made in keeping this promise. Here are ten of the laws and reforms signed by the Governor that are going into effect today:


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New Corridors of Commerce Projects Announced

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM
Categories: Transportation

Highway 23 leaving Paynesville, MN - One of five Corridors of Commerce projects beginning this year
Photo Content: Flickr User Andrew Munsch, Highway 23 leaving Paynesville, MN

Thanks to the Corridors of Commerce initiative, the Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced new funding for four critical road projects across the state. During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature invested an additional $31.5 million in the program. Last year, they invested $300 million for the initiative, which funded ten essential road and bridge projects around Minnesota.

“Transportation projects funded by the Corridors of Commerce initiative will reduce travel times, improve safety for Minnesota citizens, and help our businesses transport their products more efficiently,” said Governor Dayton. “The number of projects from all over our state, which sought financing from this program, underscores the acute need for more transportation funding to meet the needs of our state’s growing economy.” 

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Governor Dayton Helps Break Ground on New Office Tower in Duluth

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM
Categories: Jobs, Greater Minnesota

Today, Governor Mark Dayton, Mayor Don Ness, local officials, and area business leaders broke ground on a new $70 million office tower in downtown Duluth. The project, which will serve as the corporate headquarters for maurices – a Duluth-based international retail company – will create and retain 900 jobs and leverage $50 million in private investment. When complete, the 11-story office tower will house hundreds of maurices employees and represent the largest commercial development project in the history of downtown Duluth.

New $70 million office tower is largest commercial development in the history of downtown Duluth

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton, Mayor Don Ness, local officials, and area business leaders broke ground on a new $70 million office tower in downtown Duluth. The project, which will serve as the corporate headquarters for maurices – a Duluth-based international retail company – will create and retain 900 jobs and leverage $50 million in private investment. When complete, the 11-story office tower will house hundreds of maurices employees and represent the largest commercial development project in the history of downtown Duluth.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for maurices, and a monumental investment in downtown Duluth,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank maurices for its continued commitment to Minnesota, and for the many hundreds of jobs this project will create and support in the coming years.”

Founded in 1931 as a small retail store in Duluth, maurices has grown into an international business operating over 900 stores across the United States and Canada. Over the last five years, maurices has grown significantly, opening more than 250 stores and increasing its sales by 65 percent. Between its Duluth headquarters and 45 store locations across Minnesota, maurices employs over 1,200 Minnesotans with a statewide annual payroll of $30 million.

As the company continues growing, maurices needed additional space to accommodate up to 600 associates. Right now, maurices employs 425 associates spread among three different office buildings in downtown Duluth. When completed in 2016, the new corporate headquarters will consolidate those employees into one space, and provide room for the company to keep growing.

Project Received $8.5 Million in State Funding
In 2012, the project received $8.5 million in a competitive economic development grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). These competitive grants were funded by a $500 million Jobs Bill signed into law by Governor Dayton in May of 2012. DEED awarded the grants to economic development projects statewide based on five criteria, including: project readiness, job creation, potential to leverage additional public and private investment, regional impact, and public benefit. The maurices project was among the top three ranked projects out of 37 finalists.


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Cardiovascular Systems Planning $30 Million Expansion

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 4:06 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

More jobs for Minnesota

Governor Dayton's Job Creation Fund helped Cardiovascular Systems add 205 jobs at its New Brighton site

NEW BRIGHTON – Medical device manufacturer Cardiovascular Systems Inc. announced plans today to build a $30 million headquarters in New Brighton and to expand its workforce with 205 new, high-paying jobs within two years.

The company said it will build a two-story, 125,000-square-foot building with office, research and development, and manufacturing space at the New Brighton Exchange, a 100-acre site at the northwest corner of Interstates 35W and 694.

Cardiovascular Systems currently employs 191 workers at its existing headquarters in New Brighton, about 2 miles south of the new site. The new headquarters building, which is expected to be completed next March, will have the capacity to accommodate 500 workers.

"This is great news for Minnesota,” said Governor Mark Dayton. "We are very pleased that Cardiovascular Systems Inc. has chosen New Brighton for its new headquarters. I thank CSI for this important expansion that will add 205 good-paying jobs to our state."


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Thanks to MNsure More than 95 percent of Minnesotans have health insurance

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Uninsured number in Minnesota fell by 180,500, Picture it this way... The population of Rochester and St. Cloud combined... or, Enough people to fill 9 Target Centers..., or 14 Football fields full of people lined up side to side!

More than 235,000 Minnesotans have enrolled in high-quality, competitively-priced coverage since October

When Governor Dayton took office in January 2011, Minnesota’s uninsured rate hovered just above 8 percent. To address this important issue, the Governor committed to expanding affordable health care coverage to all Minnesotans.

In November 2011, the Governor signed an executive order directing state government to begin developing a health insurance exchange. Then in March 2013, Governor Dayton signed legislation to further the development of MNsure.

With a recovering economy and the creation of MNsure, Governor Dayton has delivered on his committed to improve access to health insurance. A new study from the University of Minnesota shows Minnesota’s uninsured population is at an all-time low. Today, more than 95 percent of Minnesotans have health insurance.

The University of Minnesota’s report found that between September 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014, there was a dramatic 41 percent drop in the number of uninsured Minnesotans, falling from 8.2 percent of the population to 4.95 percent, now the second lowest rate of uninsured individuals in the country.

There is more work to do to help ensure all Minnesotans are covered, but the new report demonstrates that health reform in Minnesota is providing more Minnesotans than ever access to the health care they need. And when Minnesotans have access to health care, they are healthier and more productive – benefiting out entire state.


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Albert Lea’s Fountain Lake to Benefit from Environmental Improvements

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM
Categories: Environment, Outdoors

Governor Dayton joined with legislators, advocates, and community members for the signing of the 2014 Jobs Bill 

Today, overlooking beautiful Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, Governor Dayton was joined legislators, community members, and advocates for a ceremonial signing of the 2014 Jobs Bill. The legislation, signed into law by Governor Dayton last month, invested $7.5 million in environmental improvements for Fountain Lake aimed at improving water quality, fishing, and recreational opportunities. 
 
Fountain Lake, which spans 555 acres, is a popular summertime destination for boating, swimming, water skiing, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; activities that have an important impact on the City of Albert Lea’s economy and tourism industry.
 
This project will benefit the people that live here and visit this area, as well as the kids who will benefit from the soccer complex and from better lake conditions,” said Governor Mark Dayton. The bonding bill is where we make investments in the future of Minnesota – from buildings, education facilities, and our natural resources.  So it’s a very, very good project and I am very glad to have been part of it.

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Living the Legacy: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 premieres this weekend

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM
Categories: Human Rights


This weekend, the Minnesota Human Rights Department will premiere “Living the Legacy: The Civil Rights Act of 1964” to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the historic legislation this weekend on local cable and YouTube and will continue airing the program through July 5th. 
 
On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.  The law also ended unequal application of voter registration and racial segregation in schools, workplace and facilities that served the general public.
 
“Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a significant moment in our country’s history and while all of the evils of discrimination didn’t end, we took a big step forward,” said Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. “I hope that viewers will gain a greater appreciation for the sacrifices made on our collective behalf, what we have accomplished and the work that remains ahead us.”

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After 8-Year Wait, Rochester Mayo Civic Center Expansion to Be Completed

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Governor Dayton announcing Civic Center expansion

The expansion of Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center has been eight years in the making. And thanks to the Jobs Bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton last month, the project is finally on track to be completed. The Jobs Bill enacted this session provided $35 million to complete the remaining work on the project. The Civic Center expansion is expected to create more than 1,000 new jobs, including 700 construction jobs and 300 permanent positions. In the decade after the project is completed, the expanded Mayo Civic Center will add an estimated $370 million to the Rochester Area economy. 
 
The expansion project will add 188,000 square feet to the facility. The improved Civic Center will also help Rochester attract events and medical conventions from around the world – complementing the region’s Destination Medical Center initiative.
 
“This investment ensures that Rochester has a world-class civic center to go along with a world-class medical center,” said Governor Mark Dayton. That means more people coming to Rochester, staying here longer, and spending more money at stores and businesses in the area –  it’s a win for everybody.

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DNR’s new website makes it easy to find the Minnesota state park that’s the best fit

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM
Categories: Outdoors, Reform

Minnesota State Parks Website Park Finder

Looking for the perfect Minnesota weekend getaway? With the Minnesota DNR’s new website, just a few clicks will get you there.

Just in time for National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 14, the Department of Natural Resources is revealing a new tool called ParkFinder, which will help users plan any outdoor adventure at one of Minnesota’s 75 state parks and recreation areas to best match their needs and interests. With just a few clicks, users can enter search criteria, view the results, and make a reservation. 

Search options include where to find: 

  • Nature programs.
  • Trails – including hiking, biking, horse, ski and snowmobile trails.
  • Rental equipment – including canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, cross-country skis and snowshoes. 
  • Overnight camping and lodging facilities – including drive-in, cart-in and canoe-in campsites; RV sites; camper cabins and more.
  • Amenities – such as beaches, playgrounds, fishing piers and picnic shelters, including which ones are accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility-assist devices.

This year, Governor Dayton signed the first Plain Language Initiative as part of the Unsession, which directs all state agencies to use commonly used language, write in clear and concise sentences, and present information in a format that is easy to understand for Minnesotans.


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Minnesotans Celebrate Wage Increase for High-Quality In-Home Care

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Governor Dayton meets with advocates

Governor Mark Dayton today helped celebrate a landmark achievement for tens of thousands of health care professionals who provide in-home care for nearly 109,000 Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities. During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature enacted a 5% increase in reimbursement rates for home care workers, on top of a 1% increase enacted last year. Before these increases, the 86,500 Minnesota health care professionals who provide high-quality care for our parents, grandparents, and family members had not received a wage increase since 2009.

“Most Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities want to live in their homes, and still have access to the high-quality care they need,” said Governor Dayton. “As our state’s population ages, it is more important than ever to ensure we are attracting the very best health professionals to care for our parents, grandparents, and family members. Paying these workers fairly for their dedication and professionalism is essential, and I strongly support this increase.”

From 2007 to 2011, Minnesota’s provider reimbursement rate rose less than 2%, while inflation increased by over 10%. Stagnant wages have created significant hardships for home care providers – straining their ability to care for our parents, grandparents, and friends and relatives with disabilities. In fact, many home care professionals in Minnesota have been forced to find second jobs, or find alternative positions in higher-paying industries.

Raising the wages that home care workers receive will help attract and maintain a high-quality workforce – helping improve the lives and care options of elderly Minnesotans and people with disabilities. Ensuring our most vulnerable friends, neighbors, and loved ones have access to high-quality home care helps them live more independently, and avoid more costly and restrictive settings.

In addition to saving families money and allowing Minnesotans to live more independently, in-home care providers help ease strain on the state’s budget. In fact, for every senior who receives care in their home instead of a nursing facility, the state saves an estimated $19,877 per year. And for every Minnesotan with disabilities who receives assistance at home, the state saves an estimated $10,864 per year.

Home Care Worker Wage Increase – By the Numbers


5%

Increase for home care providers supported by Governor Dayton

6%

Total increase enacted over the biennium

47,000

Minnesotans with disabilities who receive home care assistance

34,860

Minnesota seniors who receive home care assistance

86,500

Number of homecare workers who will benefit from the increase

$10,864/yr

State savings when one Minnesotan with disabilities receives care at home compared to an institutional setting

$19,877

State savings when one elderly Minnesotan receives care at home compared to an institutional setting


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Governor Dayton Serves Breakfast to Coon Rapids Elementary Students

Posted on June 04, 2014 at 1:39 PM
Categories: Greater Minnesota, Education, Health

2014_06_02_GMD_serves_breakfast.JPG
Governor Dayton serving students breakfast alongside Coon Rapids staff. 

All Minnesota students should have access to a healthy meal. And thanks to a bill signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton two weeks ago, more than 125,000 students across Minnesota will have access to healthy lunches and breakfasts in school. The legislation (Chapter 312, HF3172) invested $4 million in school lunch and breakfast programs statewide. 

Today, at Morris Bye Elementary School in Coon Rapids, Governor Dayton highlighted one key component of that new law which included $569,000 for an initiative ensuring all 64,000 Minnesota kindergartners have access to a healthy breakfast, free of charge. 

“We cannot expect our students to succeed on empty stomachs , said Governor Dayton. “ Healthy meals are crucial to our students’ achievements. I thank Senator Alice Johnson, Representative Jerry Newton, Senator Jeff Hayden, and Representative Yvonne Selcer for passing this very important measure.” 

Governor Dayton was joined today at Morris Bye Elementary School by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, state Senator Alice Johnson, and state Representative Jerry Newton. Senator Johnson and Representative Newton authored the provision this session to ensure all kindergartners have access to a free and healthy breakfast. 

"When a child is hungry, they have a difficult time learning and concentrating in school," said Senator Johnson. "Studies show a nutritious breakfast will reduce absenteeism, help close the achievement gap and increase graduation rates. I thank Governor Dayton for his leadership on this issue." 

"I thank Governor Dayton and legislators that worked to make sure all of our kids have access to a good meal and a great start to their school day,” said Representative Newton. “We have accomplished a great deal over the past two years to improve our schools and provide Minnesota kids with a world-class education." 

In addition to providing breakfast for every kindergartner, the new law also included $3.5 million for the school lunch program. In January, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid released a report revealing that 46 Minnesota school districts had policies that denied students access to a nutritious lunch, if those students do not have sufficient funds to pay for their meal. This new funding will help ensure 61,000 students from low-income families have access to healthy meals at lunchtime. 

“Providing our students with access to nutritious meals is a critical part in making sure they are ready to learn when they enter the classroom. A healthy meal gives students the energy and nourishment necessary to focus on their number one job: learning.” said Commissioner Cassellius. “This initiative paired with other new investments will help our schools prepare students for success in career and college.” 

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Minnesota Launches Bid for NCAA Final Four Tournament

Posted on June 03, 2014 at 2:10 PM
Categories: Jobs

Minnesota Final Four Bid

ST. PAUL, MN – On the heels of Minnesota securing the 2018 Super Bowl, Governor Mark Dayton today announced an organized campaign to bring the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Four men’s basketball tournament to Minnesota. The bid announced today (for tournament years 2017-2020) would bring one of the nation’s most-watched collegiate tournaments to the new Minnesota Multi-Purpose Stadium in Minneapolis.

“Hosting the NCAA Final Four would bring tens of thousands of visitors to Minnesota, and put our state center-stage during one of the most-watched sporting events of the year,” said Governor Dayton. “We plan to pursue this opportunity, and the economic benefits that come with it, with the same enthusiasm and creativity that secured the 2018 Super Bowl.”

In announcing Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four, Governor Dayton today named Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, Inc. and David Mortenson, President of Mortenson Construction, as co-chairs of the Minnesota Final Four Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be comprised of representatives from Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), Meet Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota.

“Minnesota’s new multi-purpose stadium has been designed from the onset to accommodate preeminent national events such as the NCAA Final Four Tournament,” said Mortenson. “We believe there is no better venue or region for this event, and it will provide an opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the nation and the world.  We will work hard with the University of Minnesota and our strategic partners to present a bid that showcases all that our region has to offer.”

Lessons learned from Minnesota’s recent experience in putting together the successful Super Bowl LII bid demonstrated that these efforts require the energy, effort and collaboration of our community and business leadership to be successful.

“The Final Four will be a terrific and engaging event for our entire community, with events like Bracket Town, Tip-Off Tailgate and March Madness Music Festival.  Like the Super Bowl, the Final Four now includes many events and lots to offer over several days,” said Brainerd. “There will be many opportunities for fans and visitors to take part and experience the hospitality of our entire region.”

Governor Dayton also named two honorary co-chairs from the Minnesota sports world to help support Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four. Lindsay Whalen, guard for the Minnesota Lynx and former University of Minnesota women’s basketball star, and Trent Tucker, former NBA player and University of Minnesota men’s basketball star, will serve as honorary co-chairs.

“As director of athletics for Minneapolis Public Schools, I look forward to working with our co-chairs and the NCAA on the youth programs that are a major component in the bid process and in the legacy that follows the championship game,” said Tucker, who as part of Minnesota’s bid for the Final Four will work with the NCAA to provide youth clinics for students in grades 3 through 8 to discuss sportsmanship, wellness and injury prevention.

If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be the fourth time it has hosted a Final Four. Previous events took place in Minnesota in 1951, 1992, and 2001.

“I have attended Final Four games and events, and am truly excited to be involved in working to bring them to my hometown,” said Whalen. “Our new stadium, connected downtown, and fanatical basketball community will welcome all NCAA fans. We are more than ready to host the Final Four again in Minnesota.”

The University of Minnesota will also work closely with Minnesota’s steering committee and co-chairs to bring the Final Four to Minnesota.


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Governor Dayton Attends Hormel Institute Groundbreaking Ceremony

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 11:53 AM
Categories: Economy, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

2014_05_28_hormel_institute_expansion.jpg

This artistic rendering depicts what the Hormel Institute will look like after the expansion

Governor Dayton traveled to Austin, Minnesota yesterday to celebrate the expansion of the Hormel Institute. In partnership with the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, the Hormel Institute performs cutting edge cancer research. The new expansion will double the institute’s size and help it maintain its reputation as a global leader in the field.


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Unsession Delivers 1,200 Ways to Make Government Work Better

Posted on May 27, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Governor Dayton, IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich, and Pollution Control Commissioner John Linc Stine discuss the Unsession at a state Capitol news conference.

Governor Dayton, IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich, and Pollution Control Commissioner John Linc Stine discuss the Unsession at a state Capitol news conference.

During the 2014 Unsession, Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature successfully enacted nearly 1,200 ways to make state government work better. These reforms – both large and small – will make state government work better, faster, and smarter for the Minnesota citizens and businesses it serves.

From making taxes simpler, to streamlining the permitting process for businesses, to eliminating unnecessary and outdated laws, the Dayton Administration delivered on its promise to make meaningful reforms that will improve the lives of Minnesotans. The Unsession also included the state’s first-ever Plain Language executive order, which requires all state agencies to communicate in clear, concise language that Minnesotans can easily understand.

“This year’s Unsession was a phenomenal success,” said Governor Dayton. “Working together, we revised, reduced, or eliminated nearly 1,200 outdated laws and cumbersome regulations. I commend the Legislature for their work, and I thank Commissioner Tony Sertich and members of my cabinet for leading this important effort.”

The Unsession eliminated unnecessary and outdated laws that defied common sense. The Unsession eliminated telegraph regulations, repealed a law that made it a misdemeanor to carry fruit in an illegally sized container, eliminated state statutes that make phone bills long and confusing, and eliminated a 75-year-old law that made it illegal to drive in neutral.

In addition to eliminating the ridiculous, the Governor and the Legislature also worked together to pass bipartisan reforms that cut red tape. Below are examples of how the Unsession will benefit all Minnesotans. 

Making Sense of State Government. This March, Governor Dayton signed an Executive Order directing all state agencies to use commonly-used language, write in clear and concise sentences, and present information in a format that is easy-to-understand for Minnesotans. Since signing that Executive Order, thousands of state employees have received Plain Language training and numerous Plain Language projects are underway across the administration.

Improving Efficiency, Reducing Wait Times. Because of major reforms implemented by the Dayton Administration in 2011, 97 percent of all job-creating business permits are approved by state agencies in less than 150 days. This session, the Governor signed new legislation reducing those wait times for most businesses to just 90 days. An estimated 11,000 of the 15,000 permit requests the state receives from businesses each year are expected to be completed within the new 90-day goal.

Making Taxes Simpler. New tax cuts signed into law by Governor Dayton are saving taxpayers time and money. Aligning state tax law with new federal credits and deductions for students, families, and seniors has made taxes simpler for more than one million middle class Minnesotans.

Cleaning Up the Books. State government agencies are responsible for implementing, interpreting, and enforcing thousands of pages of Minnesota laws. But many of those pages were filled with outdated, unenforceable laws, and technical jargon that was nearly impossible to understand. To make government easier to understand, this session Governor Dayton and the Legislature eliminated over 1,100 obsolete, redundant, and incomprehensible statutes.

More information about the Unsession provisions signed into law by Governor Dayton are available his website at http://mn.gov/governor/unsession.


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DNR rolls out new online water permit application

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 9:21 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Environment, Jobs

Irrigation System at a farm in Rosholt, Minnesota

Irrigation System at a farm in Rosholt, Minnesota

‘Unsession’ initiative streamlines permitting and payment process for Minnesotans



A newly designed web-based system that simplifies the steps to getting water permits and paying for them online is being rolled out by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The new MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System (MPARS) is part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s initiative to streamline state government services. 



The new application at www.mndnr.gov/mpars will save an anticipated $255,000 annually and allows DNR employees to devote more time to technical assistance and field work. 



“DNR employees will have 5,000 more hours every year to protect and improve our environment, thanks to this ‘Unsession’ reform,” Dayton said. “I thank Commissioner Tom Landwehr and his staff for making these commonsense changes that will dramatically reduce the time to process more than 10,000 water permit applications each year.”

The old paper application process was time consuming and inefficient with department staff spending hours hand-sorting applications and on manual data entry.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy and as pain-free as possible for water users while giving us a way to more precisely manage and conserve a precious natural resource,” said Landwehr. “We’ll be able to better track our water use, identify permit violations and increase compliance.”



The department processes more than 10,000 permit applications and transactions each year, including reports on annual water use. Cities, farmers, businesses and landowners that use 1 million gallons of water each year, or more than 10,000 gallons a day, or work in public waters are required to get a water use permit or permit to work in public waters.

Applicants now have access to maps and can track the progress of their applications online. They are also automatically alerted if they don’t need a DNR water permit.


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Second Chance Expungement Bill Becomes Law

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Categories: Human Rights

Governor Dayton signs the expungement bill into law

Governor Dayton signs the Second Chance Expungement Bill into law.

Governor Dayton has signed a bill that will give a second chance to thousands of Minnesotans who are taking honest steps to support themselves and their families. The new law (Chapter 246, HF2576) creates a more thorough expungement mechanism that allows judges to permanently seal the criminal records of reformed offenders – making it easier for these Minnesotans to secure good jobs, access quality housing, and provide for their families.
 
"People can't turn their lives around and become law-abiding citizens, if they have no hope of finding a decent job or a place to live," said Governor Dayton. "This law provides a chance for them to put their pasts behind them and live better lives. I commend Senator Champion and Representative Melin for their leadership.”
 
State law allows judges to expunge criminal records of certain offenders. But a Minnesota Supreme Court decision ruled that under previous law, judges could only wipe out court records, not those collected by state agencies such as the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension or Department of Human Services. As a result, offenses were still showing up in certain background checks, which made it difficult for many offenders to obtain housing or secure employment. The new law enacted today will give judges in Minnesota the authority to expunge all criminal records for reformed offenders.
 
“Nearly one in five Minnesotans have an arrest or criminal record,” said Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, who authored the bill in the Senate. “The use of online criminal record checks by employers and landlords has skyrocketed as they evaluate candidates for employment and housing. Unfortunately, online records are often inaccurate, incomplete or misinterpreted.”
 
One important provision in the bill will help correct that problem by requiring business screening services to delete records if they know a criminal record has been sealed, expunged, or is the subject of a pardon.
 
"This legislation gives Minnesotans who made mistakes in the past a second chance so they can move on and become productive members of our communities,” said Rep. Carly Melin, who authored the bill in the House. “It is an important step toward removing barriers to employment, housing, or a post-secondary degree – the kinds of things that allow Minnesotans to support themselves and their loved ones."
 
The new law also improves long-standing juvenile record expungement law by clarifying that records related to juvenile delinquency – not just an order of adjudication – can be expunged. Additionally, it provides clear standards for consideration in juvenile records expungement, and easier access by criminal justice agencies to juvenile records.
 
Finally, the legislation provides for easier exchange of expunged records between criminal justice agencies for use in investigations, prosecution, and sentencing for all records expunged. The law also requires agencies to notify the petitioner when their criminal records are sealed.
 
Supporters of the bill included the County Attorney Association and the MN Second Chance Coalition, as well as the MN Coalition of Battered Women and the MN Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
 


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Governor Dayton Signs Smartphone “Kill Switch” Legislation, New consumer protection law is first of its kind in the nation

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

2014_05_14_Expungement_Kill_Switch_Signings 238_1.jpg

Governor Dayton Signs Smartphone “Kill Switch” Legislation , New consumer protection law is first of its kind in the nation

Today, Governor Mark Dayton signed nation-leading legislation (Chapter 241, SF1740) requiring all new smartphones sold in Minnesota after July 1, 2015, to have an anti-theft “kill switch” function. This new kill switch function will allow smartphone owners to remotely disable their smartphone if it is lost or stolen, rendering the devices useless to thieves and reducing the incentive for a growing wave of violent cell phone thefts.

“This law will help combat the growing number of violent cell phone thefts in Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “I thank Representative Atkins, Senator Sieben, Senator Dziedzic, law enforcement officials, and the many student advocates who championed this legislation.”

The desirability, resale value, and personal and financial information on smartphones makes them a prime target for thefts and robberies. During legislative hearings, University of Minnesota police testified that up to 62 percent of robberies on campus are cell-phone related.

“With this new law, Minnesota is leading the way and acting on this growing threat to public safety,” said Rep. Joe Atkins, who authored the bill in the House. “I want to thank the University of Minnesota students and law enforcement who worked to make this law a reality. This kill switch law is another piece of the many consumer protection measures enacted over the last two years.”

Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. robberies involve phone theft, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Lost and stolen mobile devices cost consumers more than $30 billion last year.

"Cell phone theft is a major concern here in Minnesota and around the country,” said Sen. Katie Sieben, who authored the bill in the Senate. “This legislation, which is the first of its kind in the country, will help reduce the likelihood that people will be robbed of their smart phones.”
 
Sen. Kari Dziedzic authored provisions that prohibit device dealers from using cash to purchase used electronic devices. Under the new language, a retailer would pay for the device through a mailed check, electronic transfer or store credit.


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Governor Dayton Signs Women’s Economic Security Act into law

Posted on May 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Surrounded by women from across Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton signs the Women’s Economic Security Act into law at the State Capitol.

Lawmakers and advocates joined Governor Mark Dayton on Mother’s Day to sign the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) into law. 

Women in Minnesota make up half the workforce, but earn on average just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. WESA is nation-leading legislation designed to break down barriers to economic progress for women. WESA strengthens workplace protections and flexibility for pregnant women and nursing mothers, expands employment opportunities for women in high-wage, high-demand occupations, and reduces the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws.

“Today, as we honor our Mothers and Grandmothers, we have taken a giant step forward for Minnesota's working women and their families” said Governor Mark Dayton. “It should not require a law to ensure that women are treated fairly in the workplace, or that they are paid equally for their work. However, too many women still experience serious economic disparities, unfair gender barriers, and other workplace discrimination in our state. For all of them, this law is vitally important and long-overdue. I thank the bill’s authors, Senator Sandy Pappas and Representative Carly Melin, for their leadership on behalf of all Minnesota women.”

“When future generations look back at the barriers facing working women today, we will be able to look them in the eye and tell them we took action to make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said chief author State Representative Carly Melin (DFL – Hibbing). “This legislation strengthens working families and grows the middle class by ensuring that our mothers, sisters, daughters, and grandmothers have equal opportunities for economic security.”

"While Minnesota's economy continues to grow, progress for women's economic prosperity has lagged woefully behind,” said Senator Sandy Pappas (DFL – St. Paul), chief author of the Senate bill. “WESA will move us in the right direction and ensure women finally receive equal pay for equal work, that we don't face discrimination for being mothers, and that we are treated fairly in the workplace.”

“When women succeed, Minnesota succeeds,” said Speaker of the House Paul Thissen. “Minnesota’s economy is headed in the right direction, but not everyone is sharing in the gains. And when you dig underneath the first layer of economic challenges facing Minnesotans, we find that the people struggling to stay or step-in to the middle class are disproportionately women. The Women’s Economic Security Act aims to break down barriers to economic progress so that women    and all Minnesotans    have a fair opportunity to succeed.”

The Women’s Economic Security Act takes the following steps to break down barriers to success for women:

Stronger Workplace Protections 

  • Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Improves the law that requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child.
  • Enhances protections for employees seeking to assert rights or remedies if a violation occurs in the workplace

Closing the Gender Pay Gap

  • Reduces the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws for state contractors by requiring businesses with 40 or more employees seeking state contracts over $500,000 to certify they are paying equal wages to workers regardless of gender. 
  • Ensures the rights of employees to voluntarily discuss their compensation without fear of retaliation from their employers. 
  • Decreases the gender pay gap by addressing the “motherhood penalty,” requiring businesses to make hiring, promotion, and termination decisions regardless of  an employee’s “familial status” (Pregnant women and parents and legal guardians of children under 18 who live with them).

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Share Your Catch from the Fishing Opener on Instagram

Posted on May 08, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Stock Up On Memories Because They Never Lose Their Value

FOLLOW THE FISHING OPENER ON INSTAGRAM 

In conjunction with the Fishing Opener, Governor Dayton is launching his official Instagram page. Follow @GovMarkDayton and use the hashtag #GFO2014 throughout the event for photos and updates. 

How to participate:

  • Download the Instagram app and create an account. 
  • Take photos using the Instagram app. Or upload a previously taken photo from your mobile photo gallery to Instagram. 
  • Write a photo caption. Use the hashtag #GFO2014 if you would like your fishing opener photos to be included on Governor Dayton’s Social Media Round Up. 
  • A hashtag is a phrase prefixed with the “#” symbol. Hashtags are used to search and group the same phrases together on each specific social platform. 
  • Select to share the photo/video directly to other social channels. 
  • Publish the photo to your followers’ feeds.



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Kicking off the 67th Annual Governor's Fishing Opener

Posted on May 08, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Governor Dayton at the 2013 Fishing Opener 
 
As nearly 500,000 Minnesotans gear up to go fishing this weekend, Governor Mark Dayton is getting ready to host Minnesota’s 67th Annual Governor’s Fishing Opener in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Headquartered at Grand View Lodge, the weekend’s events will feature fishing, family fun activities, a live concert with the Gear Daddies, and a community picnic in downtown Nisswa that is expected to draw a crowd of more than 5,000 Minnesotans.
 
“I thank the Brainerd and Nisswa communities, and Grand View Lodge, for their tremendous work in hosting this year’s Governor’s Fishing Opener,” said Governor Dayton. “Lt. Governor Prettner Solon and I are looking forward to this weekend’s events. With help from my great fishing guide Ray Gildow, and a little bit of luck, I hope to catch a fish this weekend.”
 
The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota’s recreation industry, and in recent years, it has served as a kick-off celebration for the summer tourism season. Fishing generates an estimated $2.4 billion in direct retail sales annually in Minnesota, supporting 35,000 jobs statewide. Minnesota has the second-highest angler participation rate of any state in the nation (32 percent).
 
“The Brainerd Lakes Area is home to some of the finest fishing in the world. This weekend, I look forward to catching plenty of fish and promoting the great recreational experiences that our state offers,” said Lt. Governor Prettner Solon. “I also want to extend my gratitude to the people of Nisswa and Brainerd for their hospitality and for organizing the 2014 Opener.”
 
For more information about the 2014 Governor’s Fishing Opener, including a full list of public events, visit this website. Photos of Governor Dayton, Lt. Governor Prettner Solon, and various Fishing Opener activities will be posted online at this link throughout the weekend.


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Investing in the Brainerd Lakes Region

Posted on May 07, 2014 at 4:53 PM
Categories: Bonding

"The Cost of Higher Education" at Central Lakes College-Brainerd - by MSCSA

Photo: "The Cost of Higher Education" at Central Lakes College-Brainerd by MSCSA

Governor Dayton understands the importance of investing in Minnesota’s future. Just like a homeowner who maintains their property – making smart investments in Minnesota’s infrastructure will ensure our state remains a great place to live for decades to come. That’s why the Governor’s bonding bill proposes to invest $986 million in critical infrastructure projects across our state. These projects will produce more than 27,000 jobs for Minnesotans and improve facilities essential for job creation, education, and transportation.

The Brainerd Lakes region would benefit from several projects proposed in the Governor’s bonding bill, including: 

  • Central Lakes College. Governor Dayton recommends $3.05 million for improvements of Central Lakes College. These new resources will help pay for upgrade research facilities, an improved library and computer center, and better study spaces. The campus renovations will help ensure students get the world-class education they need for a great job after graduation.

  • Little Falls Snow Plow Facility. Every day, Minnesotans depend on safe roads to quickly and efficiently travel to their destinations. The Governor’s bonding proposal would invest $3.6 million in the Little Falls snowplow facility to ensure that Minnesotans in the Brainerd Lakes area have safe, snow-free roads. These new resources would pay for modern salt-brine making facilities to keep the roads clean and an improved mechanic shop to keep plows on the road.

You can learn more about the Governor's bonding proposal here.


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Anglers Catch All They Need to Know at New DNR Fish Minnesota Website

Posted on May 07, 2014 at 10:33 AM

2013_fishing_opener.jpg

As nearly a half-million Minnesotans get ready to go fishing this weekend, the DNR today rolled out a new mobile website that anglers can use to more easily find and understand the state’s fishing regulations.

Previously, these regulations were only available in a 92-page brochure. But thanks to the Governor’s Plain Language initiative (part of his Unsession package), this new mobile solution will help Minnesota’s 500,000 anglers access the fishing information they need more easily, in a user-friendly format.

“I have been fishing in Minnesota for my entire life,” Dayton said. “But even the most experienced anglers couldn’t possibly know all of the state’s many fishing regulations, which are essential for responsible wildlife management. This new mobile site will help all Minnesotans more easily find and understand the state’s fishing rules and regulations.”


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Watch This: Governor Dayton Signs the Safe and Supportive Schools Act

Posted on May 05, 2014 at 10:31 AM
Categories: Human Rights



On Wednesday, April 9, Governor Dayton signed the Safe and Supportive Schools Act into law. The new measure provides local school districts the guidance, support, and flexibility to adopt clear and enforceable school policies to help protect all children from bullying, and to reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect in our schools. Watch the video to see how students reacted to the bill signing.
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Bonding Proposal Would Boost Higher Education in Northeastern Minnesota

Posted on May 05, 2014 at 8:00 AM

On Friday, May 2, Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben visited Itasca Community College to receive a tour of the campus’s facilities.

On Friday, May 2, Minnesota Office of Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben visited Itasca Community College to receive a tour of the campus’s facilities.

Governor Dayton’s higher education bonding bill continues to be the focus of a statewide tour, with visits this week at campuses in Ely, International Falls, Hibbing and Grand Rapids. 

Larry Pogemiller, Commissioner of the Office of Higher Education (OHE), and Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED, spent time visiting four campuses in the Northeastern Minnesota.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Dayton outlined the need for increasing support for Minnesota’s state colleges and Universities. “The State’s current bonding levels do not adequately support the improvements that both MnSCU and the U of M must make in their existing physical plants, in new buildings, and in state-of-the-art equipment and technologies -- to continue to attract the best students and give them the best possible educations.”
 
The Governor has recommended $3.34 million for projects at these four campuses, including the renovation of classroom and lab spaces, as well as the installation of a biomass boiler system at Itasca.

“The colleges of the Northeast Higher Education District not only provide strong academic programs for their students, they are also integral to the economic viability of the region,” said Pogemiller. “These recommended investments will allow them to continue to educate their students in up-to-date classrooms and labs, as well as address pressing infrastructure issues.”

“Our highly-educated and productive workforce is our greatest asset in Minnesota, and we must continue to provide learning environments for continued growth,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “The proposed funding for the Northeast Higher Education District will provide infrastructure support for the classroom and lab spaces needed for our future workers.”


Upcoming visits include Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical in Red Wing, and Winona State University, among others.

Governor Dayton’s Capital Investment bill includes $233 million for higher education projects at the University of Minnesota and MnSCU campuses.


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ICYMI: Watch Governor Dayton's Full State of the State Address

Posted on May 01, 2014 at 10:30 AM


02:27 - Gavel and entrance of Governor Mark Dayton.
03:48 - Governor Mark Dayton's presents his 2014 State of the State Address.
Runs 52 minutes.

You can read Governor Dayton's remarks as prepared for delivery here. Check out the Flickr gallery for more photos from the event.


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Governor Dayton's 2014 State of the State Remarks

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 9:23 PM
Categories: Jobs, Transportation, Reform, Public Safety, Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Greater Minnesota, Education, Economy

Governor Dayton addresses a joint convention of the Minnesota legislature at his 2014 State of the State Address

Governor Dayton addresses a joint convention of the Minnesota legislature at his 2014 State of the State Address

Remarks of Governor Mark Dayton – As prepared for delivery
State of the State Address
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

 
 
When I ran for Governor four years ago, I promised “A Better Minnesota.”  Tonight, I can report that the state of our State is better – much better -- than before.  It’s better for us, and it’s better for those who will inherit it from us.  But the economic growth and social progress we have achieved, also reminds us of the work we still have left to do.
 
Becoming a parent introduces a longer-term perspective.  We begin to consider the effects of our actions not only on our own lives, but also on lives that will extend beyond ours.
 
Becoming a grandparent, as I did a year-ago, thanks to my terrific son and wonderful daughter-in-law, Eric and Cory Dayton, who are in the gallery tonight, adds another generation to that timeline.  It also raises the stakes.
 
Somewhere down the road, my grandson and his generation will assess the state of the state we have left to them.  They will decide whether we, through our actions or inactions, made their lives better.  Let’s keep them in mind, as we choose our state’s path.  
 
In my first State of the State, three years ago, I said, “I know what we must do to create that better future for all of us. To progress, we have to invest.
 
“We have to invest in more jobs. Invest in better education.  In improved transportation.  In the health of our citizens, our communities, and our environment.  In the transformation of government services.”
 
In other words, we have to invest in growth, quality, and effectiveness.
 
 
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
 
Well, we invested in jobs.  Minnesota’s private sector and public sector both invested in jobs.  We are blessed with so many outstanding businesses, located everywhere in our state, operating everywhere in the world – and who, during the past three years, rediscovered that they can be successful and profitable here in Minnesota.  As a result, we have the 5th fastest growing economy in the country.
 
There are more than 2.8 million jobs in Minnesota today.  More jobs than ever before in our state’s history. 150,000 more jobs than when I became Governor three years ago.
 
This economic growth is happening all over our state.  A recent newspaper story was entitled, “Lots of jobs find a home on the prairie in southwestern Minnesota.”  It said that, for example, Jackson County reported a 5 percent increase in jobs during 2013.  The City of Jackson’s economic development coordinator is quoted saying that, “Everybody who is able to work, and willing, is probably employed.”
 
Jackson’s largest employer, AGCO, has doubled its workforce to more than 1,300.  Nearby, HitchDoc, which manufactures automotive and farm equipment for 300 customers, has grown from a dozen employees to 140.  “And I’m looking for another 30,” said the company’s owner, Brad Mohns. “I’m turning down work, because I can’t find enough employees.”
 
Some people believe there is no role for government in private sector expansion and job creation.  To see that they’re mistaken, just look around Minnesota.
 
There would not be a new stadium under construction in Minneapolis without the financial support of the City and the State of Minnesota.  7500 construction workers will have jobs building that stadium over the next couple years.  Over one-third of them will be people of color.
 
Located right next to the stadium will be a $400 million private sector development, the largest in a generation.  It will provide office space for 5000 Wells Fargo employees, residential apartments, stores and shops, a hotel, and a new, two-block public park.  Its construction will employ another 1000 Minnesotans.  And that is just the beginning of the area’s revitalization.
 


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Governor Mark Dayton's 2014 State of the State Address

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

State of the State - #MNSOTS

On Wednesday, April 30, Governor Mark Dayton will deliver his State of the State Address before a joint session of the Minnesota Legislature. Governor Dayton will deliver his speech in the Chamber of the Minnesota House of Representatives beginning at 7:00pm.
 
Minnesotans can watch or listen to Governor Dayton’s State of the State Address on the following outlets:

House Public Information Services
House Public Information Services will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks online at this link. After the speech, video of the speech will be posted online here.
 
PBS Stations
The Governor’s remarks will be broadcast live on PBS television stations statewide on the Minnesota Channel.
 
MPR Stations
Minnesota Public Radio will broadcast the Governor’s remarks live on affiliated radio stations statewide. The speech will also be re-broadcast at noon on Thursday, May 1, 2014.
 
Minnesota News Network Stations

The Minnesota News Network will offer a live broadcast of the Governor’s remarks for its affiliated radio stations statewide.
 
WCCO Radio
The Governor’s remarks will be broadcast live on WCCO Radio AM830.
 
StarTribune.com
The Star Tribune will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks on their website.
 
Pioneer Press (TwinCities.com)
The Pioneer Press will be live-streaming video of the Governor’s remarks on their website.

Minnesotans can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MNSOTS.


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Are You Prepared for Minnesota's Extreme Weather?

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 1:22 PM
Categories: Public Safety

Weather_Aware_2014

A storm cloud looms over Minnesota water. Photo credit to Flickr user JCK.

When severe weather is in the forecast, are you prepared? Governor Dayton declared this week to be “Severe Weather Awareness Week” to ensure that Minnesotans know how to protect themselves and their property during severe weather events.

Severe weather such as tornadoes, hail, winds, floods, and heat waves take physical, emotional and financial tolls on Minnesotans each year. In 2010, Minnesota set a state record with 104 tornadoes across the state, many of which left behind disastrous wreckage. Understanding the threat of severe weather and knowing how to react is essential and can even save lives.

In alignment with the goals of the “Unsession,” Governor Dayton supports legislation that would eliminate unnecessary special sessions during times of disaster. The Disaster Relief Reform initiative would avoid costly special legislative sessions and shift the focus to a swift distribution of aid where disaster strikes.


Read more >>


Investing in Jobs for the Future

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 1:47 PM
Categories: Bonding, Greater Minnesota, Jobs, Education

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of DEED, and Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, visited the Moorhead campus to highlight the governor’s support for expanding and improving the college’s Transportation Center.

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of DEED, and Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, visited the Moorhead campus to highlight the governor’s support for expanding and improving the college’s Transportation Center. 

Commissioners from two Minnesota state agencies visited Moorhead to show their support for $6.54 million in bonding that Gov. Mark Dayton is recommending for Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State). M State is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of DEED, and Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, visited the Moorhead campus to highlight the governor’s support for expanding and improving the college’s Transportation Center. Plans call for new and larger diesel technology labs that will accommodate modern diesel agriculture, construction and transportation equipment.

The upgraded and expanded center will enable automotive students to work on vehicles in groups of two instead of in groups of four, providing more hands-on training opportunity. Programs space focused on alternative fuels and hybrid power sources will also be created.

“The proposed improvements to the Transportation Center at M State will provide students with the up-to-date knowledge and hands-on experience they need to be successful in a rapidly changing job market,” Pogemiller said.

The Transportation Center upgrades are part of $233 million in bonding that Gov. Dayton is proposing in this legislative session for improvements at higher education institutions in Minnesota. The proposal includes funding for world-class labs and expanded classroom space at campuses around the state, including Lake Superior College in Duluth, Southeast Technical in Red Wing and Bemidji State University.

“The governor’s proposals are a wise investment that will help ensure that Minnesota keeps its competitive edge when it comes to preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow,” Commissioner Sieben said.


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Go Wild! Day in Minnesota

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Governor Dayton & Commissioner Cassellius sport their MN Wild jerseys in support of the Minnesota Wild advancing in the NHL Playoffs

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed today “Go Wild! Day” in Minnesota to rally fans as they Minnesota Wild return to the Xcel Energy Center to take on the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of the NHL Playoffs.

“As Minnesotans, we are proud to live in the great State of Hockey. The Wild had two tough games in Colorado. Now they’re playing two games in Minnesota, where they can even up the series.” said Governor Dayton.
 
To show their support for the Wild, the Governor, who was an All-State high school goalie, and Department of Education Commissioner Cassellius, who still moonlights as a forward for the Penalty Box Hockey Team, wore their jerseys to the Capitol today.

You read the Governor’s proclamation here: http://ow.ly/w00ns


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Katie’s Story: College Tuition Tax Deduction

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 0:00 AM
Categories: Education, Reform, Budget

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Thanks to new tax cuts enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton and the MN legislature, the Zuzeks family are expected to save about $160 this year and another $220 on their state taxes in 2014.

Paying for college tuition can cost Minnesota students and families tens of thousands of dollars every year. But a new college tuition tax deduction signed into law by Governor Dayton will help reduce that financial burden, saving 40,000 Minnesota college students an average $140 per year.

The Zuzeks of Hastings, Minnesota, were born to be teachers.

“From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Katie Zuzek, a senior at St. Mary’s University in Winona. “And in order to realize that dream, I knew I had to go to college – there wasn’t any other option.”


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The Norman Family's Story: Tax-Free Adoption Assistance

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Reform, Greater Minnesota

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Because of the middle class tax cuts signed by Governor Dayton, the Norman family will not have to pay $700 to $800
in state taxes they would have otherwise owed for the adoption assistance they received from Aaron’s employer in 2013.

Kristi and Aaron Norman of Rochester have always dreamed of raising a family. And thanks to adoption, they are now the proud parents of two young children.

Raising children can be expensive, especially for a young family. Costs for child care, medical care, and clothing can add up quickly. But there is one expense the Normans did not expect when they adopted their daughter last year: state adoption taxes.

When the Normans adopted their daughter in July 2013, Aaron’s employer helped defray half of the $20,000 it took to complete the adoption process. The Normans were grateful for the generous help Aaron’s employer.


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MnDOT Safe Routes to School grants support 138 Minnesota schools

Posted on April 18, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Education

Safe Routes to School

International Walk to School Day at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced the recipients of $4.8 million in federal grants for Safe Routes to School. The grants will support Safe Routes to School at 138 schools in 50 communities.
 
“These projects will help communities increase opportunities for children to walk and bike to school,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “More students walking and biking means less traffic on the road and in front of schools, improving safety and promoting healthier kids.”
 
Schools received grants in two categories:

  • Planning – Funding to complete a Safe Routes to School plan to help analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions at K-8 schools. Plans will be completed by the Regional Development Commission or a planning consultant hired by MnDOT.
  • Infrastructure – Funding for improving the environment and infrastructure around the schools such as crosswalks and trails.

 
MnDOT announced the available grants in December 2013. It received 85 applications and funded 60 applications. The total amount requested was $11.3 million.
 
All Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are federal funds. The infrastructure grant includes a 20 percent local match. Each infrastructure grant includes a resolution of support from the local governing body to ensure community support. No local match is required for planning assistance grants.
 
Since 2005, MnDOT awarded nearly $15.5 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding—$13.1 million—was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for non-infrastructure items and activities.
 
This solicitation used the remaining federal Safe Routes to School funds. Federal funding for the program is now available through the new Transportation Alternatives Program. Safe Routes to School projects occur in all 50 states.
 
The list of grant recipients is below. More information is available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes.


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The Lee Family's Story: Eliminating the “Marriage Penalty”

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Economy, Reform

2014_04_16_lee_family
The new tax cuts will provide Ching and Pi Lee an estimated $180 that they can save or spend in our local economy.

By 1986, Ching Lee decided it was time to leave Taiwan and join his extended family, who had already immigrated to the Twin Cities. Trained as mechanical engineer in Taiwan, Ching was able to find work as a manufacturing technician for a high-tech company in the West Metro.

A new country and a new job were not the only changes for Ching in 1986. He also fell in love with and married a fellow Taiwanese transplant, Pi Liu. Not strangers, Pi and Ching first met in Taiwan before becoming reacquainted in Minnesota. 



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Brenda's Story: Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

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Because of the middle class tax cuts signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton,
Brenda Scandin was able to avoid up to $35,000 in taxes after selling her home at a loss in a short sale.

In 2013, more than 11,800 Minnesota families lost their homes to foreclosure. Thousands more sold their homes at a loss in a short sale. But thanks to new tax cuts signed into law by Governor Dayton, Minnesotans who lose their home to foreclosure or sell their homes at a loss will not face the added burden of paying thousands of dollars in state taxes.

Like tens of thousands of Minnesotans who lost their jobs during the Great Recession, Brenda Scandin of Mound, Minnesota, never thought it could happen to her. Brenda had a good job working as a finance professional, and with decades of business experience, she had an excellent understanding of money management. But after losing her job during the recession, Brenda and her husband began having a difficult time making their mortgage payments.


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The Unsession: Michelle's Story

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

To make state government work better for the people it serves, Governor Dayton has implemented Minnesota's first-ever Plain Language policy. Watch this video to learn how the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has made their website easier to use for Veterans like Michelle Ambrose.


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Governor Dayton Enacts First Minimum Wage Increase in a Decade

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 7:18 PM

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More than 325,000 of Minnesota’s lowest-wage workers just got a raise. Joined in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon by legislators, advocates, and hard-working Minnesotans from across the state, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill into law raising Minnesota’s minimum wage for the first time since 2005. The bill increases the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016, and indexes it to inflation to help ensure Minnesotans’ wages keep up with the cost of living.

Before today, at $6.15 per hour Minnesota had one of the lowest minimum wages in the nation – lower than neighboring Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In fact, Minnesota was one of only four states in the country with a minimum wage below the national rate of $7.25 per hour.


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Governor Mark Dayton Signs Safe and Supportive Schools Act

Posted on April 09, 2014 at 5:24 PM

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Surrounded by students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, Governor Mark Dayton today signed the Safe and Supportive Schools Act (HF826/SF783). The new law, authored by state Sen. Scott Dibble and state Rep. Jim Davnie, strengthens protections against the threat of bullying in Minnesota schools. The new measure provides local school districts the guidance, support, and flexibility to adopt clear and enforceable school policies to help protect all children from bullying, and to reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect in our schools.

“Minnesota’s schools should be safe and supportive places for everyone,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “This anti-bullying legislation will make it very clear that bullying is not to be allowed in our schools. I thank Senator Dibble, Representative Davnie, Commissioners Cassellius and Lindsey, and the many parents, students, teachers and advocates, who worked tirelessly to write and pass this law.”


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Governor Mark Dayton to Sign Safe and Supportive Schools Act

Posted on April 09, 2014 at 7:01 AM

Every Kid in Minnesota Deserves a Safe School

Students, teachers, parents, and families invited to Minnesota State Capitol for bill signing ceremony

Joined by legislators, parents, students, and teachers, Governor Mark Dayton plans to sign the Safe and Supportive Schools Act (HF826/SF783) into law at a public bill signing ceremony on Wednesday, April 9, at 4:00pm. The bill signing ceremony will take place on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. Minnesota students, parents, teachers, and families are invited to attend the event.

The Safe and Supportive Schools Act, which was passed by the Minnesota Legislature, strengthens protections against the threat of bullying in Minnesota schools. The new law will provide local school districts the guidance, support, and flexibility to adopt policies that will help protect all children from bullying, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect in our schools.

This event is free, and open to the press and public.

WHO:
Governor Mark Dayton
State Sen. Scott Dibble
State Rep. Jim Davnie
11-Year-Old Boy Scout Jake Ross
Farmington Schools Superintendent Jay Haugen

WHAT:
Bill signing ceremony for the Safe and Supportive Schools Act

WHERE:
Steps of the Minnesota State Capitol

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 9
4:00pm


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The Unsession: Ravi's Story

Posted on April 07, 2014 at 3:21 PM
Categories: Reform

Just two weeks ago, Governor Mark Dayton signed new tax cuts into law that are already saving Minnesotans time and money, and making filing taxes simpler for more than 1 million middle class Minnesotans and thousands of businesses. Watch this video to learn more about how Governor Dayton’s tax reforms are saving time, money, and hassle for small business owners like Ravi Norman of Thor Construction.


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New Rankings Help Families Choose Quality Child Care

Posted on April 03, 2014 at 10:53 AM
Categories: Education

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson finger paints with children at Amanda Rupar’s Family Child Care in Sartell, Minn
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson finger paints with children at Amanda Rupar’s Family Child Care in Sartell, Minn., to highlight growing participation in the Parent Aware quality rating system and recent investments in early childhood education
For Minnesota’s children, school begins in Kindergarten, but learning starts long before that. According to cognitive scientists, the first five years of brain development can make or break future learning outcomes. Parents play a vital role in stimulating their children’s minds, but when they leave for work, this responsibility also falls on daycare providers.

Last year, Governor Dayton and the legislature worked together to invest in high-quality early learning opportunities. One of these newly implemented initiatives is Parent Aware, a program designed to rate different pre-k educational services. Based on a four star rating system, the program relies on voluntary evaluations of different day-care providers, and, through educational workshops, equips them with information on how to create a safe and stimulating day care environment. When looking for place to send their kids parents can simply go to the Parent Aware Website, and look up ratings.

The minimum standard for a 1 star ratting requires ongoing documentation of a child’s learning progress, while achievement of a four star rating takes much more: including sensitivity to cultural differences among children, evidence that lesson plans are tailored to the learning needs of individual students, and training for pre-k care for students with disabilities.

Minnesota’s Parent Aware rating system will help parents assess their options for childcare, but also encourage providers to become up to date on the latest techniques for encouraging early cognitive development.

The process of accreditation requires that providers frequently participate in workshops to learn about the latest research in early childhood education. This ensures that they remain up to date about the best approaches to early learning, and can continually revise their curriculum.


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Minnesota Taxpayers: File Your Taxes Now

Posted on April 02, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Governor Dayton and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans encourage Minnesota Taxpayers to file their taxes now

Governor Dayton and Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans encourage Minnesota Taxpayers to file their taxes now

Minnesota Department of Revenue officials today told all taxpayers to file their tax returns NOW.  The news comes one day before the original target date.  For over one million taxpayers who have not yet filed, they can file now with forms and software that include the new tax law changes passed on March 21.

“Many thousands of Minnesotans will benefit from the tax cuts that were passed by the Legislature just over one week ago. I urge Minnesotans to file their taxes now, and claim all the tax cuts and credits for which they are eligible,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

“Completing the update one day early was a big accomplishment for Revenue staff working closely with our partners in the private sector” said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.

All taxpayers should begin filing their taxes NOW and file on or before April 15, 2014, which is the deadline unless taxpayers ask the IRS for an extension. 

Software Providers:  All Department of Revenue-certified tax software providers have updated their software to reflect the new tax law changes. Updated tax forms and schedules are also on our website here. The department advises taxpayers using desktop tax software on their personal computers to accept and install updates from their software provider so they are filing with the most up-to-date software.

Change of Address:  Taxpayers who have changed addresses since their last filing should notify the department of their new address so refunds and correspondence from the department reach the correct destination.

Who Qualifies?  About 300,000 taxpayers qualify for the new 2013 middle class tax breaks. These changes match the Minnesota tax forms more closely with federal forms and rules. If you properly claim these deductions on your federal return, they will be included in determining your Minnesota income tax. View a list of the benefits on our website to see if they apply to you.

Already filed your return?  We will review it. If you qualify for a new deduction or credits, one of three things will happen after our review:

  1. We will adjust your return, if possible. We will send you a letter explaining the adjustment and send you a refund.
  2. We will request more information from you. We will use that information to adjust your return, if possible. We will send you a letter explaining the adjustment and send you a refund. 
  3. If we cannot adjust your return, we will notify you that you will need to file an amended return to get the benefits of these tax law changes. We advise you to not amend your return for these new deductions or credits until we notify you. You (or your tax preparer) may decide to amend your return for other reasons.

Learn more about tax changes on the Minnesota Department of Revenue's website here.


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Streamlined FAFSA makes it easier for Minnesota students to access financial aid

Posted on April 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Categories: Education

FAFSA tools can help Minnesota students get access to financial aid

Getting ready for college or career school can be easier than you think. Visit the FAFSA website for more information.

Governor Dayton knows that providing all of our students access to affordable post-secondary education is vital to preparing all Minnesotans for great jobs for generations to come. Last year, Governor Dayton worked with the Legislature to increase financial aid for our students and freeze tuition at public colleges and universities. Now, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education encourages students to take advantage of the recently improved Free Application for Federal Student form (FAFSA) to access additional student aid.

The U.S. Department of Education improved the FAFSA by adding two new features to make the application simpler to complete and to encourage more Americans to get the education they need for bright futures. The new FAFSA Completion Tool and Financial Aid Toolkit make the application process straightforward, and help high school principals and counselors identify students who should complete the form. Here in Minnesota, the Office of Higher Education has ratcheted up its outreach efforts to help students and families complete the form.

FAFSA Reform – By the Numbers

23 minutes    Time it takes to complete the FAFSA online

58%        High school seniors completed the FAFSA in 2012-2013

70%    High school seniors who completed the FAFSA that enrolled in college or university

Increasing educational opportunity for all Minnesotans is critical creating good jobs and bright futures. The Governor is dedicated to ensuring that Minnesotans have access to post-secondary education – making it easier to get financial aid will help achieve this important goal.


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Blogg[ed]MN: The Benefits of Investing Early

Posted on April 01, 2014 at 1:18 PM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton and Governor Dayton read to a group of early learners

This blog post originally appeared on the Minnesota Department of Education website blogg[ed]MN. 

Since taking office, Governor Mark Dayton has made a number of critical investments in early education. One significant investment came in 2011 when Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $5.45 million in the Minnesota Reading Corps to expand the program and help more students gain access to one-on-one tutoring.

In fact, 30,000 students benefited from the Minnesota Reading Corps AmeriCorps individualized, one-on-one tutoring to kindergarten through third grade students and using proven literacy interventions last year.

And the best part is: It’s working.

Today, a new report shows that this work is resulting in big improvements for the state’s youngest learners.

The study, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, analyzed the impact of the Minnesota Reading Corps on improving student achievement in reading. It looked at a sample of 1,350 Minnesota students from Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, and followed their performance over a 16-week period in the 2012-2013 school year.

Check out some of these amazing highlights from the report:

  • The average Minnesota Kindergarten student with a Minnesota Reading Corps volunteer tutor performed twice as well as students without one
  • Minnesota Reading Corps tutors helped the average first grade student perform 26 percent better than the expected level for on-track students
  • Students with higher risk factors who received Minnesota Reading Corps tutoring significantly outperformed students who did not

Interested in reading more about the study? Here are some links to materials from today’s report:


Read more >>


Unsession Update

Posted on April 01, 2014 at 10:00 AM


View on YouTube

Last summer, Governor Dayton asked Minnesotans to send him their “Unsession suggestions.” Thanks to your good ideas, Governor Dayton delivered over 1,000 Unsession proposals to the Legislature. Some of these proposals have already become law and the Governor hopes to sign hundreds more Unsession provisions into law in the coming weeks.

This is the first video in a series focused on the Unsession. Check it out and stay tuned in the coming weeks to see how Governor Dayton is working to make better government for a better Minnesota. 



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Governor Dayton Declares “MNsure Enrollment Day” in Minnesota

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM
Categories: Health

It's officially MNsure enrollment day

More than 152,000 Minnesotans have already enrolled in high-quality, affordable health insurance using MNsure, benefitting from the lowest health insurance rates in the nation. With the March 31st deadline for enrollment approaching, Governor Mark Dayton today declared today “MNsure Enrollment Day,” urging Minnesotans to use MNsure in the coming days to find and enroll in a health plan that best fits their needs. Minnesotans still looking to enroll in coverage should visit MNsure.org or call 1-855-366-7873.

Recently, MNsure announced that any Minnesotan who attempts to enroll in health insurance through MNsure by March 31st will be eligible for an extension, and will be allowed to complete their enrollment after the deadline. For more information about whether you would qualify for an extension, visit MNsure.org or call 1-855-366-7873.


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Minnesota High School Graduates Making Big Gains in Postsecondary Education

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 11:35 AM
Categories: Education

Click here to explore the 2014 interactive Minnesota Measures infographic: A Report on Higher Education Performance.

Click here to see interactive infographic  

New research shows the percentage of young Minnesotans enrolling in higher education has increased dramatically. Between 2003 and 2011, the rate increased from 68 percent to 78 percent – a 10 percent jump. This is great news for Minnesota’s fast growing economy, which depends on a highly educated workforce.

To make further progress, last year Governor Dayton and the Legislature made the largest investment in student aid in a generation. This investment was important and urgent because Minnesota students borrow more money for education than the national average. This was a huge step in making more financial aid available for the students of Minnesota.

The Minnesota Measures: 2014 Report on Higher Education Performance also shows that 71 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduates depend on grants and scholarships to pay for their education. Commissioner Larry Pogemiller said the increasing enrollment of recent graduates shows the importance of the Minnesota State Grant, which provides need-based grants to over 100,000 Minnesotans.



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Governor Dayton signs $508 million in tax cuts for middle class and businesses into law

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 6:23 PM
Categories: Budget

Passed: Middle Class Tax Cuts

Governor Mark Dayton today signed legislation (HF1777) cutting taxes for middle class Minnesotans and businesses. The $508 million tax cut signed into law today will put more money in the pockets of middle class families, individuals, and thousands of businesses across Minnesota. Because the Legislature acted quickly to pass the bill, many Minnesotans will see immediate tax savings during the current tax filing season.

“These tax cuts will put more money in the pockets of Minnesota families and businesses, and in the spirit of the Unsession, make taxes simpler for Minnesotans,” said Governor Dayton.  “I thank Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Tax Chairs Rod Skoe, Ann Lenczewski and Ann Rest, and the other legislators, who spearheaded these tax cuts to passage.”

Since some of these tax cuts will be available immediately during this filing season, the Minnesota Department of Revenue is working with tax preparers and online tax preparation services to update tax filing software for the estimated 1.4 million Minnesotans who have not yet filed their taxes.

For those Minnesotans who have already filed their taxes, the Minnesota Department of Revenue will review each tax return and determine whether adjustments and refunds can be made automatically. The Department will contact any taxpayer who will need to file an amended return to receive these new tax benefits.

Reducing Taxes for Middle Class Minnesotans ($230M)
By conforming Minnesota’s tax code to the federal government’s, the bill signed today by Governor Dayton will simplify taxes and provide tax cuts for middle class Minnesotans.

  • Tax Cuts for Married Couples. More than 650,000 married couples will save an average $115 per year through the elimination of the “marriage penalty.” This tax cut begins next year, for the 2014 income tax filing season.
  • Tax Cuts for Working Families. Over 16,000 more middle class families will qualify for the Working Family Tax Credit, and everyone who qualifies for the credit will receive an increase.
  • Tax Cuts for Parents. More than 25,000 families who qualify for child care tax credits will see an average increase in their tax credit of $74 per year.
  • Tax Cuts for Students. More than 285,000 recent college graduates could save up to $190 per year by deducting their student loan interest. Another 40,000 current college students and parents will receive a tuition deduction of $140 per year, on average.
  • Tax Cuts for Small Employers. Small businesses will be able to offer their employees tax-free tuition and adoption assistance. The tax bill signed by Governor Dayton today also simplifies small business taxes by eliminating requirements to maintain separate records for federal taxes.
  • Additional Tax Cuts. These middle class tax cuts will also help seniors, teachers, and homeowners. More information about these tax cuts is available on the Governor’s website.

Read more >>


The State Budget Forecast is Great News for Minnesota

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 2:40 PM

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The latest State Budget Forecast is great news for Minnesota! For the first time in seven years, the Forecast is predicting budget surpluses for our state’s current biennium and the next one. When I took office three years ago, the 2011 Forecast predicted a deficit of $5 billion for the next two years. This year’s Forecast predicts a surplus of $2.6 billion.


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Governor Dayton Aids University of Minnesota’s Effort to Revive the Declining Bee Population

Posted on March 17, 2014 at 2:18 PM
Categories: Agriculture, Jobs, Economy, Education

      

Bee_Blog

 

Photo credit: Flickr user ndboy

 

Bees are receiving their share of the spotlight during this year’s legislative session. Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal recommends investing $12 million in the University of Minnesota Bee research laboratory, which will foster the expansion of agriculture research and help revitalize Minnesota’s bee population.

 

The work of pollinators is vital to the health of numerous fruits, vegetables, and crops worldwide, accounting for one in every three bites of food. These busy insects improve the vitality of nearly half of Minnesota’s entire crop production, which translates to thousands of jobs. Overall, Minnesota’s farm and foods sectors generate $74 billion in annual economic activity for our state – helping to sustain communities across the state. The declining population is a growing concern, and Governor Dayton’s recommendation is a promising investment for thousands of Minnesota farmers.     

 


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Governor Dayton’s Bonding Bill Invests in Iron Range

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 10:28 AM

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The jobs bill Governor Mark Dayton proposed last month will make critical investments in infrastructure projects statewide, including key projects across Minnesota’s Iron Range – investments that will add value to our communities, and build on the momentum of our state’s growing economy. In total, the Governor’s bonding proposal would invest $986 million in infrastructure improvements statewide, creating 27,000 jobs.


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Reasons to Preen: Minnesota's EagleCam

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Categories: Outdoors

An EagleCam still from the MNDNR website

An EagleCam still from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's website

Minnesota’s winter has ruffled a few feathers over the past few months for Minnesotans, but the Bald Eagles featured on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s EagleCam are taking the cold weather in stride. For the second year the EagleCam project features a live feed of a Bald Eagle nest in the Twin cities metro area. It is a great opportunity to see Minnesota’s thriving wildlife up-close without a trek through the ice and snow. 

Despite the frigid weather, these Bald Eagles continue to soar in internet hits and views. EagleCam received 21,771 visits from 50 states and 54 countries on its first day broadcasting. These eagles don’t just preen for the camera though—viewers watch the Bald Eagle couple work hard together, switching between incubating the eggs, feeding, and protecting the nest. 

These two eagles aren’t the only team featured in this project. EagleCam is a collaborative project between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, their information technology staff, and the Minnesota Information Technology Central staff. This year their teamwork has brought the addition of mobile support to viewers. People from all over can enjoy a glimpse into the life of some of Minnesota’s finest residents.


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First Act of Legislative Session Invests $20 Million in Heating Assistance

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Photo credit: Mark Evans

Photo credit: cc Flickr user Mark Evans

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton this morning signed legislation providing additional state funding to keep Minnesotans safe and warm during this winter’s propane emergency. The first bill signed into law by Governor Dayton this session (HF2374/SF1961) adds $20 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), giving approximately 180,000 Minnesotans the financial help they need to pay their heating bills this winter.

“The amount of propane needed to heat Minnesota homes, farms, and businesses during this exceptionally cold winter and the skyrocketing cost of propane threatened to exhaust our state’s LIHEAP funding and put our citizens out in the cold.  This funding crisis required immediate action – action that the legislature wisely took today,” said Governor Dayton. “We are continuing to do everything possible to keep Minnesotans safe and warm during this emergency.”

Soaring prices for heating fuel, caused by a severe shortage of propane in the Midwest, have led to financial hardship for families across Minnesota – placing additional strain on LIHEAP funds. Without state action, Minnesota’s heating assistance funds were projected to run out shortly after March 1st of this year. But the new state funding allocation provided today will help ensure that all eligible Minnesota households seeking assistance to heat their homes this winter will get the financial help they need.

“By the end of this winter, we are projecting that nearly 180,000 qualifying Minnesota households will apply for and receive heating assistance – that is a 30 percent increase over last year,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, whose agency manages the state’s LIHEAP program. “Without the support of Governor Dayton and the Legislature, we would not have been able to provide tens of thousands of families the help they need to weather the rest of these cold winter months.”

In a letter to legislators earlier this month, Governor Dayton expressed his plans to shore up state funding for LIHEAP, if the federal government did not provide additional funding for Minnesota. The new heating assistance funds authorized by the legislature today will be available immediately for eligible Minnesota households.

Expanded Heating Assistance Program Will Help Thousands of Minnesotans
Knowing the financial hardships Minnesotans are facing due to the propane shortage, Governor Dayton took executive action earlier this month to expand LIHEAP assistance to another 120,000 Minnesota households. Now, Minnesotans earning less than 60 percent of the state median income (SMI) are eligible for LIHEAP.

That means a family of four earning less than $52,370 per year, or a household of two earning less than $35,612 now qualify for heating assistance this winter. The Minnesota Department of Commerce projects that roughly 30,000 to 40,000 newly-eligible households will apply for heating assistance this year.

LIHEAP recipients will also benefit from additional financial assistance this winter. In response to the propane shortage, the Dayton Administration announced that LIHEAP applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil will now qualify for up to $1,000 in crisis payments – an increase of $500.


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Dayton, Branstad: Don't mess with the RFS

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Transportation, Greater Minnesota, Commerce, Agriculture

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad

Governor Mark Dayton Governor Terry BranstadWe are governors from neighboring states and different political parties. We don't agree on everything, but we stand united in our belief that our nation needs a robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and together in our opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to weaken the RFS.

Since Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 by huge bipartisan margins, it has provided the secure policy foundation that rural America needs to continue investments in renewable fuels. Those investments yield excellent returns. They diversify our nation's energy portfolio, clean the air, grow opportunities for businesses, create good paying jobs in rural America, add value to farm products, and give consumers lower-cost choices at the pump.

Big Oil dislikes renewable fuels, and has used its clout in Washington D.C. and at state capitals to thwart their progress. When Minnesota became the first state to require all gasoline sold to contain at least 10 percent ethanol (E10), Big Oil predicted fearsome disasters. They warned that ethanol would clog cars' carburetors and explode their engines, disrupt supply lines causing gasoline shortages, and increase the price at the pump for consumers. None of that happened.

The petroleum industry also claimed that the RFS causes higher fuel prices. In fact, the opposite has proven true. On February 4, 2014, regular gasoline in Cresco, Iowa, a town about 15 minutes from the Iowa-Minnesota border, was selling for $3.44 per gallon. E10 was selling at $3.13 per gallon. E85 fuel, which is 85 percent ethanol, was selling for $2.60 per gallon at the same station - 84 cents per gallon cheaper than regular gasoline.

A recent study at Iowa State University found that, "Feasible increases in the ethanol mandate in 2014 will cause a small decline in the price of E10. Our results should reassure those in Congress and the Administration who are worried that following the RFS commitment to expanding the use of renewable fuels will result in sharply higher fuel prices for consumers."

The Environmental Protection Agency previously estimated that by 2022, renewable fuels would replace 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel consumption and save motorists nearly $12 billion each year. The EPA also predicted that this displacement of gasoline and diesel would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 138 million metric tons, equivalent to removing 27 million vehicles from our nation's highways. Ethanol can increase competition and save consumers money, provide real choice at the pump, and drive innovations and efficiencies that are good for the economy.


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Governor Dayton’s bonding bill makes major investments in Greater Mankato area

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Categories: Bonding, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

Greater Mankato Area

Photo Credit: Flickr User Aaron Landry 

Governor Mark Dayton has proposed a jobs bill that will make critical investments in infrastructure projects across our state, and create an estimated 27,000 jobs. The Governor’s bonding proposal would make major investments in key projects in Mankato and surrounding communities. Some of those projects include:

Mankato Civic Center and Ice Arena. The Governor’s proposal recommends investing $14.5 million in the renovation and expansion of the Mankato Civic Center and Ice Arena. While many Minnesotans may know it as the home of Minnesota State Maverick hockey teams, the center also is critical to the regional economy – hosting conferences and regional events. Since it was first built, more than 80 businesses have started or expanded in downtown Mankato adding more than 520 new jobs, while retaining an additional 400 jobs.

Making this new investment in the Mankato Civic Center will help ensure this shovel-ready expansion and renovation project moves past the planning stage. Doing so will deliver big benefits for our state, including:

  • An additional $50 million of economic activity in the Greater Mankato region
  • More than 450 construction jobs, resulting in an $84 million economic impact on the region’s economy

South Central College. Governor Dayton understands that Minnesotans need access to a world-class education to be prepared for the jobs of the future. That is why nearly 25 percent of the Governor’s bonding proposal invests in higher education projects, including $7.5 million to renovate science, technology, and engineering, and math facilities at South Central College in North Mankato. Making these improvements will help Minnesotans develop the skills they need for great jobs in health care, computer technology, and agribusiness.


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Minnesota Posts Highest Graduation Rate in a Decade

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 3:02 PM

2013_02_19_Graduation_Rates

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was joined today by Office of Higher Education (OHE) Commissioner Larry Pogemiller and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben to announce that graduation rates are the highest in the last decade, with more than 79.5 percent of Minnesota high school seniors graduating in 2013, up from 77.6 percent in 2012. This increase is twice the yearly increase seen over the past three years, showing acceleration in progress for Minnesota seniors.

"Today is a great day for students throughout Minnesota," Cassellius said. "We are not only seeing a higher graduation rate for all students, but increases in the number of students graduating in every single group. These increases are the result of targeted investments by Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature, as well as greater accountability for schools through our waiver, and the incredible work being done each and every day by Minnesota’s educators."

Across the board, all student groups showed gains, with some of the largest increases being made by black students—up 6 percent over last year—and students learning English, whose rate increased by 7.5 percent over 2012. In fact, no single group of students made less than a 3 percentage point gain.


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Minnesota Ranks Fifth in Gallup Job Creation Index

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 3:18 PM
Categories: Jobs, Economy

01_10_2014_presser_004

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced today that Minnesota ranked fifth among states in employee perceptions of job creation at their workplaces, according to a new study released by the Gallup organization.

“The Gallup Job Creation Index results are another positive indication of a strong economy in Minnesota,” said Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). “High scores in the index strongly correlate with standard of living and confidence in the economy rankings.”


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Investing in the Brainerd Lakes Region

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Brainerd_Lakes_Snowplows

Snowplow Skills Training at Camp Ripley

Governor Dayton understands the importance of investing in Minnesota’s future. Just like a homeowner who maintains their property – making smart investments in Minnesota’s infrastructure will ensure our state remains a great place to live for decades to come. That’s why the Governor’s bonding bill proposes to invest $986 million in critical infrastructure projects across our state. These projects will produce more than 27,000 jobs for Minnesotans and improve facilities essential for job creation, education, and transportation.

The Brainerd Lakes region would benefit from several projects proposed in the Governor’s bonding bill, including:

  • Central Lakes College. Governor Dayton recommends $3.05 million for improvements of Central Lakes College. These new resources will help pay for upgrade research facilities, an improved library and computer center, and better study spaces. The campus renovations will help ensure students get the world-class education they need for a great job after graduation. 
  • Little Falls Snow Plow Facility. Every day, Minnesotans depend on safe roads to quickly and efficiently travel to their destinations. The Governor’s bonding proposal would invest $3.6 million in the Little Falls snowplow facility to ensure that Minnesotans in the Brainerd Lakes area have safe, snow-free roads. These new resources would pay for modern salt-brine making facilities to keep the roads clean and an improved mechanic shop to keep plows on the road.

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Governor Mark Dayton Recognizes Minnesota’s Winter Olympians

Posted on February 07, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Minnesota Olympians Day

Governor Dayton calls on all Minnesotans to cheer on, support 19 Minnesota Olympians 

Today, Governor Mark Dayton recognized the 19 Minnesota athletes preparing to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Governor Dayton issued a proclamation today declaring February 7, 2014, to be Minnesota Winter Olympians Day, and called on all Minnesotans to support our athletes at the Winter Games1.

"I am one of many Minnesotans, who grew up dreaming of making the U.S. Olympic team. Few athletes, however, have the exceptional talent and extraordinary dedication needed to reach this sports zenith," said Governor Dayton. “For all Minnesotans, I send our state's Olympians our heartiest congratulations for their amazing achievements. We are proud to send our very best wishes to Minnesota's athletes and to the entire Team USA."

Minnesotans have a proud tradition of representing the United States at the Winter Olympics. This year is no exception, with 19 Minnesotans representing the United States in a variety of competitions at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This is more than all neighboring states combined, and ties Minnesota for the second-most Winter Olympians of any state in the nation, behind only California (a state with more than 38 million residents).

Cheer on Minnesota’s 2014 Winter Olympians


Minnesota’s Winter Olympians will compete in a variety of different sports including: biathlon, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing, and speed skating. Minnesotans can learn more about their hometown athletes and follow their events by clicking these links to the Team USA website:


David Backes, Minneapolis, Men’s Ice Hockey
Backes is the captain of the St. Louis Blues’ Hockey Team. A native of Minneapolis, he played three years of college hockey at Minnesota State University at Mankato before turning professional in 2006. At six feet, three inches, Backes is known for his determination and physical style of play.

Jessie Diggins, Afton, Women’s Nordic Skiing
At 22-years-old, Diggins is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Nordic Ski Team. As a Stillwater Pony, she won three Minnesota state high school Nordic ski titles. Continuing that success, Diggins won a gold medal at the 2013 FIS World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Justin Faulk, South Saint Paul, Men’s Ice Hockey
Only 21-years-old, Faulk is an up-and-coming professional hockey star for the Carolina Hurricanes. Before turning professional, Faulk played high school hockey for South Saint Paul and helped lead the University of Minnesota Duluth to a National Championship in 2011.

Jeff Isaacson, Virginia, Men’s Curling
Issacson has been competitively curling since 1996. The 2014 Olympics will be his second time representing the United States. In 2010, Issacson was part of American squad that finished 10th. This year, Team USA will be looking for redemption and an Olympic medal.

John Landsteiner, Mapleton, Men’s Curling
Landsteiner currently resides in Duluth, where he competes as a member of the Duluth Curling Club. Though he is only 23 years-old, Landsteiner has plenty of curling experience – winning bronze medals at both the 2012 and 2013 U.S. National Championships.


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Governor Dayton Expands Heating Assistance Program to Help More Minnesotans

Posted on February 04, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Propane Tank

Photo credit: Eric Schmuttenmaer, Flickr

Governor Dayton takes executive action to help tens of thousands of families in propane crisis
 
As Minnesota’s propane emergency continues – with heating fuel prices now three to four times their usual level – Governor Mark Dayton has taken executive action to expand eligibility for the state’s heating assistance program. That action, which was implemented this morning by the state’s Commissioner of Commerce, means an estimated 120,000 more Minnesota households will now qualify for assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Minnesota Department of Commerce estimates that because of this change, an additional 30,000 to 40,000 newly-eligible Minnesotans will apply for heating assistance this winter.
 
The executive action announced by Governor Dayton today extends eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI. Under these new income guidelines, households of four earning less than $52,370 per year, for example, will now be eligible for heating assistance. A household of two earning less than $35,612 per year would qualify. By expanding the LIHEAP program, Governor Dayton hopes to provide needed financial assistance for tens of thousands of Minnesota families who are now struggling to pay for the rising price of propane and other heating fuels.
 
“Minnesotans across our state are living in fear that they will run out of the fuels they need to keep their families safe and warm,” said Governor Dayton. “This crisis requires immediate action, which I have taken today. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the safety of our citizens during this serious emergency.”
 
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil. These increased allocations will apply to all Minnesota households now eligible for LIHEAP assistance under the executive action announced today.
 
How to Apply for Heating Assistance

The executive action announced today extends eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI, or $35,612 per year for a household of two and $52,370 per year for a household of four. Qualifying households must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Minnesota has 32 local service providers statewide. A list of local service providers, additional information on income guidelines, and guidance for how to apply for assistance is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website or by calling (800) 657-3710.
 
Governor Dayton Calls for Additional LIHEAP Funding
Skyrocketing propane prices, and a growing demand for propane, have put additional strain on the state’s LIHEAP program. Last week, the federal government allocated an additional $15.8 million in heating assistance funds for eligible Minnesota households. Despite that new allocation, without additional funding Minnesota’s heating assistance program is projected to run out of money sometime between March 10 and March 31, 2014.
 
To address that shortfall, Governor Dayton will seek the assistance of the federal government and, if necessary, the state legislature to appropriate additional funding to ensure that all Minnesotans who seek and qualify for LIHEAP assistance under the new eligibility guidelines will receive help in the remaining months of winter.
 
Governor Dayton notified state legislative leaders today that if the federal government does not provide additional LIHEAP funding for Minnesota, he plans to include $17 million of state funds for the program in his supplemental budget proposal – which will be completed shortly after the release of the upcoming state budget forecast.
 
Governor Dayton’s letter to legislative leaders can be found here.


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Governor Dayton Takes Action to Address Propane Shortage

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Minnesota crisis hotline: 1-800-657-3504

Keeping homes heated at safe levels during the winter is extremely important – and Governor Dayton is working to help assist families from making tough choices about whether to heat their homes or buy food and medication. 

Propane Shortage Hotline – Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in Greater Minnesota. The hotline is staffed with experts from the Minnesota Department of Commerce who can provide information about Energy Assistance Programs, connect callers with resources in their home county, and provide other information.

Emergency Executive Order – On Monday of this week, Governor Dayton issued Emergency Executive Order 14-02, declaring a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota in response to a severe shortage of propane and home heating fuels statewide. The Governor has called an emergency meeting of the state’s Executive Council on Friday to consider extending that state of emergency for up to 30 days.

Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging – The Governor has also directed the Commissioner of Commerce to use his consumer protection authority to help guard Minnesotans from potential price gouging activities. On Wednesday, January 29, Commissioner Mike Rothman sent a letter to the propane industry concerning skyrocketing prices. It stated that he will take all necessary steps to protect consumers from potential price gouging and unlawful market manipulation. Consumers who believe they may have been the victim of price gouging are encouraged to contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce's Consumer Help Line at (651) 539-1500 or toll-free at (800) 657-3602.

Additional Financial Assistance for Consumers – Consumers who need financial assistance to pay their heating bills may also qualify for help through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil. Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 32 local service providers. A list of local service providers and information on applying for assistance is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website or by calling 1-800-657-3710.

Working to Increase Propane Supplies – This week, Governor Dayton met with propane industry officials to identify immediate steps that can be taken to help resolve the propane supply and price issues. The meeting included Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, and state legislators. The Governor also joined Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation in petitioning President Obama to knock down regulatory barriers, take additional steps to alleviate the shortage, and provide expanded relief to families and agriculture producers.

Other National and Federal Measures – The American Railway Association has asked its 175 members to prioritize propane delivery by making cars available and dropping propane shipments at necessary locations. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation has established a regional emergency declaration suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane to affected Midwestern states.


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Minnesota Launches Bid for 2018 Super Bowl

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Categories: Economy, Jobs

Minnesota hope to kick-off its new Vikings stadium with a 2018 Superbowl

If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be only the second time in NFL history and the first since 1992 when Super Bowl XXVI was held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. 

Governor Mark Dayton announced today that an organized campaign is underway to pursue Super Bowl LII, happening February 4, 2018. Governor Dayton announced the following three Minneapolis-St. Paul business leaders to co-chair the effort:
 
•     Doug Baker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ecolab
•     Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson
•     Richard Davis, Chairman/President/Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Bancorp

“The Super Bowl is the most watched annual event in the world.  In addition to game attendees, it brings over 100,000 people to the host community for a weeklong celebration,” said Gov. Dayton.  “Hosting the Super Bowl would bring enormous economic benefits to many Minnesota businesses, as well as provide a terrific opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the world.”


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Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal supports critical Duluth projects

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Jobs, Greater Minnesota, Education

2014_01_24_gmd_at_umd

Last Friday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the University of Minnesota - Duluth to have a conversation with students, faculty, and staff about recent investments Minnesota’s future. In 2013, the Governor worked closely with the Legislature to make major investments in job creation, property tax relief, and education. Governor Dayton’s budget invests $86.5 million in job creation efforts that will leverage $1.5 billion in private sector investment – creating thousands of good jobs. But, they didn’t stop there – they worked to provide middle class Minnesotans $400 million in needed property tax relief.


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Jobs Proposal Regional Highlights

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 1:46 PM
Categories: Bonding, Education, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

Click to enlarge

Click on the map to enlarge - click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF.

Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal is focused on making the kind of long term investments proven to create jobs.  The bill would put up to 27,000 Minnesotans back to work by investing in improvements in infrastructure, our colleges and universities, and many other regional economic development projects.

The proposal also includes additional projects of statewide and regional importance, including investments in water, natural resources, and other important services for Minnesotans. See the attached document for a breakdown of regional highlights in the Governor’s Bonding Proposal.

#
Region
Project
Amount in Millions
Description
1
NE
Airline Terminal Expansion,
International Falls
$2,000
The Governor recommends $2 million for a grant to the International Falls–Koochiching County Airport Commission to be used as the local match to federal funds to construct a new airline terminal facility located in International Falls. The total project cost is $11.3 million.
2
NE
Chisholm-Hibbing Airport,
Hibbing
$5,000
The Governor recommends $5 million for a grant to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority to demolish the existing terminal and to construct a new passenger terminal and boarding bridge, and associated equipment at the Range Regional Airport. A local match is required.
3
Ne
NorShor Theatre Historic Renovation, Duluth
$6,950
The Governor recommends $6.95 million for a grant to the Duluth Economic Development Authority for renovations to the NorShor Arts Center. The state bond proceeds would be used specifically to facilitate skywalk and handicapped accessibility and provide public access to the newly renovated NorShor Arts Center. The total project cost is $22.35 million.
4
NW
Northland Community & Technical College Aviation Maintenance Facility, Thief River Falls
$3,909
The Governor recommends $3.909 million to address the future needs of the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Imagery Analyst programs. This project includes demolition and replacement of technical space to meet program objectives and industry requirements.
5
NW
Road Repair, Second Street South, Fosston
$400
The Governor recommends $400,000 for a grant to the City of Fosston to reconstruct Second Street South, bringing the road to a 10-ton capacity to accommodate both residential and farm-to-market traffic. The total project cost is $1.3 million.
6
CE
MN State Community and Technical College, Moorhead Transportation Center, Moorhead
$4,363
The Governor recommends $4.363 million to expand the Transportation Center on the Moorhead campus. New labs for the diesel technology program will accommodate larger and more modern diesel agriculture, construction and transportation equipment, and will relieve unsafe congestion in the existing laboratories.
7
CE
Central Lakes College, Staples
$3,054
The Governor recommends $3.054 million to renovate the Staples campus. Core student service functions will be right-sized and reconfigured into a one-stop service center. Additionally, the facility energy systems will be upgraded to include photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient windows and doors.
8
CE
River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud
$11,560
The Governor recommends $11.56 for a grant to the City of St. Cloud to complete an expansion of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The total project cost is approximately $39 million with $26 million already spent.
9
SW
South Hawk Creek Business Park, Clara City
$748
The Governor recommends $748,000 for a grant to Clara City for local road construction and water and sewer improvements to a new business park. The total project cost is $1.5 million.
10
SW
Southwest Regional Sports Center, Marshall
$4,298
The Governor recommends $4.298 million in state bonding to construct a southwest regional sports center in Marshall, Minnesota. The sports center would feature two ice sheets that could be converted to volleyball/basketball courts as well as ten outdoor athletic fields that could be used for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, and other field sports.
11
SW
Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Luverne
$20,203
The Governor recommends $20.203 million for a grant to the Lewis and Clark Joint Powers Board for Phase 1 of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System project. Phase 1 will deliver water to the City of Luverne in December 2015. The total project cost is $70.564 million, and it is a three-phase project.
12
SW
Minnesota State Arena, Mankato
$14,500
The Governor recommends $14.5 million for a grant to the City of Mankato for renovating and expanding the Minnesota State Arena and Events Center. The project’s total cost is $32 million.
13
SE
Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
$37,000
The Governor recommends $37 million for a grant to the City of Rochester for the expansion and remodeling of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. The total project cost is $81.1 million.
14
SE
Winona State University, Winona
$3,935
The Governor recommends $3.935 million to begin work on Phase I of the Education Village renovation project. The predesign plan includes the reuse of three buildings that will be renovated into space that integrates specialty labs and classrooms for all education programs.
15
SE
Minnesota State College, SE Technical, Red Wing / Winona
$1,133
The Governor recommends $1.133 million to renovate carpentry classroom space on the Red Wing campus and medical lab space and welding lab space on the Winona campus. The projects will modernize space, convert storage space into classroom space, provide multi-use space that will serve all academic programs of the college, and assist the campuses with better meeting industry standards.
16
MA
Minnesota Children's Museum, Saint Paul
$14,000
The Governor recommends $14 million for a grant to the City of St. Paul to expand and renovate the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The total project cost is $28 million.
17
MA
TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant), Arden Hills
$29,000
The Governor recommends $29 million for a grant to Ramsey County for improvements to bridges and roadways near the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site. A local match is required.
18
MA
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
$20,000
The Governor recommends $20 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis for the revitalization of the Nicollet Mall. The project will rebuild Nicollet Mall from building face to building face and will include pedestrian, roadway, and transitway improvements. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $53 million.
19
MA
Minnesota State Capitol Restoration, Saint Paul
$126,300
The Governor recommends $126.3 million to complete the restoration of the State Capitol Building. The Capitol Resoration project includes repairs to the deteriorating building façade and modernization of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life-safety, security and telecommunication systems.

Click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF. 

To see the full list of the Governor's bonding recommendations, please visit this page.


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You are Invited to Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive

You are formally invited to join Governor Dayton's Council on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebration "Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive"

Though his life was tragically cut short, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as an advocate for civil rights lives on in Minnesota and around the world. On Monday, January 20, Governor Mark Dayton will be joined by keynote speaker Representative Keith Ellison, elected officials, and Governor Dayton’s Council on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, for a statewide celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy.
 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
Every year since 1986, the Governor’s Council on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday has hosted a statewide event. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive,” recognizes that in order to advance toward, and finally achieve Dr. King’s dream of equality for all Americans, we must engage every voice throughout Minnesota in our continuing campaign for justice. Governor Dayton will provide opening remarks about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Other event highlights include performances by diverse groups from around the state, and the presentation of colors by the Minnesota National Guard. The celebration can be viewed via webcast at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5053468/events/2694451. There will be live American Sign Language Interpretation at the event, and on the webcast.
 
WHO:
Governor Mark Dayton
Council on Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday
 
WHAT:
“Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive” – a celebration of Dr. King’s life and vision
 
WHEN:
Monday, January 20, 2014
8:30 am – The Council on Black Minnesotans’ discussion on the 88th legislative session
10:15 am – March Reenactment*
11:00 am – Celebration Program
12:30 pm – Community Meal
              
WHERE:
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd West
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
 
*Please note: the march reenactment will begin at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and end at the Minnesota History Center.
 
More on Governor Dayton’s Council on Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Through Governor Dayton’s Executive Order, the council is charged with commemorating and celebrating Dr. King’s legacy of equal rights and opportunity. As part of this mission, the council plans an annual event in honor of Dr. King.


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Jobs Proposal Will Create Over 27,000 Minnesota Jobs

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Categories: Bonding, Public Safety, Transportation, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

Governor Mark Dayton today introduced a bonding proposal that would invest $986 million in infrastructure projects statewide, creating more than 27,000 Minnesota jobs. This new jobs bill would help addresses many of the state’s critical infrastructure needs, while strengthening Minnesota’s economy and getting people back to work.

$986 Million Bonding Bill Invests in Needed Infrastructure Improvements across Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today introduced a bonding proposal that would invest $986 million in infrastructure projects statewide, creating more than 27,000 Minnesota jobs1. This new jobs bill would help addresses many of the state’s critical infrastructure needs, while strengthening Minnesota’s economy and getting people back to work.

“My proposals will put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state,” said Governor Dayton. “This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go. Many of them have been delayed for years and are crucial to revitalizing downtown business centers, modernizing MnSCU and U of M buildings and classrooms, and improving parks, roads, and local infrastructure.”

Regional Civic Centers and Downtown Improvements
The Governor’s bonding proposal invests over $104 million in downtown areas and regional centers statewide – projects that will create jobs, attract additional private investment, and support economic development in communities across Minnesota. Some of those downtown investments include:

  • $37 million for the Rochester Mayo Civic Center expansion
  • $20 million for revitalization of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis
  • $14.5 million for a new addition to the Mankato Civic Center (Minnesota State Arena)
  • $14 million to expand and renovate the Children’s Museum in downtown St. Paul
  • $11.6 million for an expansion of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center
  • $6.9 million for renovation of the historic NorShor Theatre in Duluth
Higher Education
Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal also invests $233 million in our state’s higher education systems to ensure that Minnesota students have access to world-class labs, classrooms, and training for the jobs of the future. Highlights of education projects included in the Governor’s bill include:
  • $80 million for asset preservation and replacement at MnSCU and University of Minnesota campuses statewide ($40 million in HEAPR funds for each system)
  • $74 million for additional infrastructure improvements at 17 MnSCU campuses statewide
  • $56.7 million for renovation of the University of Minnesota’s Tate Science and Teaching building
  • $12 million for the University of Minnesota’s Research and Laboratory Improvement Fund

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Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon Announces She Will Not Seek Reelection

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon

20140114_yps.jpg

After more than 25 years of dedicated service to the people of Minnesota, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon has announced she will not seek reelection in 2014. During her time as Lt. Governor, Prettner Solon has distinguished herself as a passionate advocate for Minnesota seniors and Greater Minnesota – and she plans to continue that important work throughout the coming year. local government has laid the foundation for a Better Minnesota; the impact of her accomplishments will be felt for years to come.

Prettner Solon leaves mark on State of Minnesota after more than 25 years in public service

After more than 25 years of dedicated service to the people of Minnesota and the City of Duluth, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon today announced she will not seek reelection in 2014. Prettner Solon will not seek a second term as Lt. Governor – a role in which she has led landmark efforts to improve the lives of children, senior citizens, veterans, and Minnesotans with disabilities. During her time as Lt. Governor, Prettner Solon has distinguished herself as a passionate, relentless advocate for Minnesota seniors and Greater Minnesota – and she plans to continue that important work throughout the coming year.

“It has been a great privilege, and my distinct honor, to serve the people of Minnesota as Lt. Governor,” said Prettner Solon. “I am proud of the many important achievements we have made over the last three years to build a better Minnesota, and I have no plans to slow down or scale back that work in the year ahead.

“Above all, my work on behalf of Minnesota’s aging population has been rewarding and productive,” said Prettner Solon. “When our elder population stays engaged, and active in their communities, they live longer, healthier, and happier lives. That creates a win-win-win situation for our seniors, our communities, and our state’s health care system. This administration has done nation-leading, transformative work to empower and improve the quality of life enjoyed by Minnesota seniors. I look forward to building on that important progress in 2014.”


Governor Mark Dayton today thanked Lt. Governor Prettner Solon for her distinguished service, and congratulated her on the many policy initiatives and administrative accomplishments she has championed that have improved the lives of Minnesotans, and set our state on course for a better future.

“Throughout her 25 years of devoted public service – as Duluth City Council Member and Council President, State Senator, and Lieutenant Governor – Yvonne Prettner Solon has been a courageous champion for the people of Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Lieutenant Governor Prettner Solon’s tireless leadership on behalf of Minnesota's senior citizens and people with disabilities has greatly improved many lives.  She has been key to achieving our administration’s primary mission: building a better Minnesota for all our citizens.

"I thank Yvonne for her invaluable service to our state, and I pledge my continuing support for the important initiatives she has championed as Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor,” Dayton said.


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State Launches New Minnesota Job Creation Fund

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Categories: Economy, Greater Minnesota, Jobs

Cmmr Clark Sieben and Governor Dayton

On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton and DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced the launch of a new Minnesota Job Creation Fund at the state Capitol; a new economic development initiative that will help create 5,000 new jobs and attract an estimated $450 million in private investment into Minnesota’s economy.

Today at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton and Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced that businesses looking to expand their operations and hire new workers in Minnesota may now qualify for assistance from the newly-created Minnesota Job Creation Fund. This pay-for-performance business development initiative, administered by the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), will help create an estimated 5,000 new jobs statewide and attract another $450 million of private investment into Minnesota’s growing economy. 



“Over the last three years Minnesota has added more than 122,700 new jobs, regaining all the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession,” said Governor Dayton. “But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels now. The strength of our economy and the security of middle class Minnesota families depend on the investments we make today to accelerate job growth and get every Minnesotan back to work. Every job matters; and that is why initiatives like the Minnesota Job Creation Fund are so important.” 



The $24 million Minnesota Job Creation Fund, proposed by Governor Dayton and passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013, will replace the state’s JOBZ program, which is set to expire in 2015. The new fund will provide up to $1 million to businesses after they meet certain criteria, including minimum requirements for job creation and private investment. Under the program, businesses must create at least 10 full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 in their own developments to be eligible for financial assistance. 



“The Minnesota Job Creation Fund will not only provide access to capital for businesses that need assistance to expand or move their operations to Minnesota, but it will add high-quality jobs to the state’s economy,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “This pay-for-performance tool will continue the economic momentum we have built since recovering from the recession.” 



The Department of Employment and Economic Development is currently accepting Minnesota Job Creation Fund applications from businesses seeking financial assistance to expand or locate in Minnesota. Businesses engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and technology may be eligible for assistance. Companies must work with the local government (city, county or township) where a project is located in order to be eligible for assistance. More details about the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, including program requirements and application materials, are available on the DEED website at www.tinyurl.com/JobCreationFund.


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Growing Minnesota's Economy

Posted on January 09, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs

Jobs_Bill_2013

Governor Mark Dayton Signs 2013 Jobs Bill

Economy

Since Governor Dayton took office in 2011, Minnesota has added over 122,000 new jobs – recovering all the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession. The Governor has taken action to strengthen our economy and create a stable environment for businesses to expand and create jobs. With a fair and balanced budget, new investments in education at every level to strengthen our skilled workforce, and targeted investments in economic development that will leverage billions of dollars in private investment, Governor Dayton has provided additional tools to accelerate our recovery and create economic opportunity for the middle class.


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Delivering Results for Minnesota Students

Posted on January 08, 2014 at 10:39 AM
Categories: Education, Budget

Dayton meets with students at Winona State University
Governor Dayton meets with students at Winona State University to discuss Minnesota's future.

Education

In 2013, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature made a major investment in education, from pre-school to college, and ensured that every dollar previously borrowed from our schools has been paid back in full. The Governor made historic investments in early learning, all-day Kindergarten, financial assistance for college students, and tuition freezes at state colleges and universities that will help make higher education more affordable. Ultimately, these key investments – and historic gains in academic achievement made this year by students and teachers – made 2013 a landmark year for education in Minnesota.

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Highway Construction Projects Receive $300 Million from State

Posted on January 06, 2014 at 1:36 PM
Categories: Budget, Transportation, Commerce

Photo content: Flickr User Doug Kerr; US Highway 10 – Minnesota

Photo content: Flickr User Doug Kerr; US Highway 10 – Minnesota

Minnesotans depend on their roads, bridges, and highways every day. Minnesota businesses also require access to good roads as they move goods and services to market.  Recently, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that ten highway construction projects will receive funding through the state’s new $300 million Corridors of Commerce program. These new projects will reduce travel times and improve safety for Minnesota citizens and help businesses transport their products more efficiently.


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Celebrate Earth Day with the MPCA

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Categories: Earth Day, Health

Every day is Earth Day

On Earth Day this year it is especially noticeable how polar our planet can be. Unseasonable temperatures last year gave way to one of the wettest, coldest, and longest, springs this year. While this could be interpreted as Mother Nature’s cruelty, it’s more a sign of our planet’s fragility.

While the MPCA stresses “Every day is Earth Day”, April 22 is the one time a year that everyone should take notice of our environment. For those hoping to celebrate proactively, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has 5 ways you can go a little greener this year.


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