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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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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


Increase for home care providers supported by Governor Dayton


Total increase enacted over the biennium


Minnesotans with disabilities who receive home care assistance


Minnesota seniors who receive home care assistance


Number of homecare workers who will benefit from the increase


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


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


Governor Dayton Serves Breakfast to Coon Rapids Elementary Students

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

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.” 


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.


Governor Dayton Attends Hormel Institute Groundbreaking Ceremony

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


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.


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


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