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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published May 05 2012

Minnesota Political Notebook: Dean plan a diversion on the way to a stadium vote

ST. PAUL - The Dean plan will be an asterisk in the Great Stadium Debate of 2012, but it provided an interesting diversion while Minnesotans awaited a legislative vote about a new Vikings stadium.

House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, said he had worked a couple of weeks trying to find a solution to funding a stadium, but he was not ready for prime time when Gov. Mark Dayton caught wind of it.

In an unusual move, Dayton went public with rumors he heard about the plan Tuesday morning, a day after Republican leaders had planned to adjourn for the year. Although he had not talked to Dean or any other Republicans involved with the plan, he and Democratic legislative leaders blasted the plan with some of the strongest language heard in the Capitol.

Dayton used lots of words to describe the Dean plan, including harebrained, absurd, ludicrous, disaster, laughable, cynical, fiasco, insincere and appalling.

That forced a reluctant Dean to go in front of reporters later in the day to discuss the plan that was not fully developed. Even a Wednesday night information sheet on the issue left as many questions as it answered.

In news conferences about the plan, Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, did not talk at all in one and did not open his mouth for 15 minutes in the other. And when he did talk, it was not a rousing support.

When Dean, Senjem and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, asked the media in to say the Dean plan had died, it was deep into the news conference before that actually was mentioned.

The Dean plan failed, in part, because its funding mechanism of using general tax money to repay construction loans would have limited a Vikings lease to 15 years, half what the original stadium plan requires.

Invasive decision

A Carver County judge has denied a request by western Twin Cities lake associations and cabin owners who wanted the state to crack down on invasive species.

The groups sued the Department of Natural Resources, seeking a temporary injunction requiring the state to establish mandatory boat inspection stations to prevent the spread of zebra mussels. The judge agreed with the DNR that the state does not have legal authority to do that.

New Revenue site

A new Minnesota Revenue Department website is simpler and, its designers say, more usable.

The site at www.revenue.state.mn.us provides information about the state tax system and related matters.

“Our users spoke, and we listened,” Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans said. “Our new website provides an easier way for Minnesotans to access and understand the tax information and services they need.”

Besides looking better, Frans said many pages have been rewritten so they are easier to understand. The site is easier to navigate.

No sharing passwords

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is among senators sponsoring a bill to ban businesses from ordering an employee or potential employee to turn over private online account passwords.

In recent months, several news stories reported employers asking for Facebook passwords so they could investigate what applicants had been saying on the social media site. A bill proposed in the Minnesota Legislature this year went nowhere.

“This is about the right to privacy,” Klobuchar said. “No person should be forced to reveal their private online communications just to get a job.”

‘How to’ camp

Minnesotans who want to camp, paddle, climb, fish and use bows and arrows have access to classes in state parks.

The Department of Natural Resources offers “I Can” programs. Equipment will be provided.

Information is available at mndnr.gov/ican.


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Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.