Minn. leaders try to steer around session pitfalls 24 Feb 14

 

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Make no waves.

That’s a guiding principle for the Democrats in charge of Minnesota’s Legislature. Lawmakers arrive Tuesday for an annual session that could extend into mid-May.

Party leaders are eager to prevent, or at least contain, controversy that can leave a bad taste for voters or alienate important constituencies in a year when the Democratic House majority and Governor Mark Dayton’s re-election are on the line.

Lawmakers have an $825 million surplus at their disposal. Topping the Democrats’ “must do” list are a borrow-and-build plan for government construction projects and a boost in the state’s minimum wage.

There’s potential for friction over medicinal marijuana, a costly Senate office building, oversight laws related to the beleaguered health exchange and a new mining venture in northeastern Minnesota.