Minnesota news in brief at 7:58 p.m. CDT

Monday, April 28, 2014

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Group seeks end of Minnesota campaign giving cap

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A group challenging a Minnesota campaign finance law asked a federal judge Monday to suspend a cap on some campaign contributions.

The Minnesota branch of the Institute for Justice contends that “special source” limits on how much a candidate can take from lobbyists, wealthy donors and political funds have a chilling effect on free speech.

Currently, state law limits the total amount Minnesota candidates can take from certain types of contributors. The two donors and two candidates who filed the challenge, contend the law sets up a first-come, first-serve system and infringes on the right of donors to give more. The law was designed to prevent candidates from focusing too much on big-dollar donors.

For example, Minnesota House candidates can take up to $1,000 from contributors. But once they hit $12,500 in donations from those “special sources” who give between $500 and $1,000, everyone who contributes to the campaign after that can only give $500, Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1ivlYAi) reported.

“The government can’t say that only the first 12 people in line get to contribute $1,000 to a candidate, while everyone else only gets to contribute half that,” Institute for Justice attorney Anthony Sanders said.

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Dayton: Lottery needs time to end online games

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton said Monday it would be “pointless” for him to veto a bill stripping the Minnesota Lottery’s ability to sell tickets online if the Legislature votes convincingly for the restriction.

Dayton told The Associated Press that he hopes lawmakers at least give the lottery adequate time to end its Internet games and minimize breached contracts. The Senate voted overwhelmingly last week for an immediate online lottery prohibition. A House vote could come soon.

The Democratic governor didn’t commit to signing the bill, but said a lopsided House vote would make a veto futile. He could also let it become law without his signature.

Dayton, who has expressed concern that profit motive by lottery competitors could be driving the clampdown, said he asked House Speaker Paul Thissen to build in a grace period for the lottery. Dayton said the lottery has commitments to vendors and to players who have purchased tickets on a subscription basis for Powerball, Mega Millions and other drawings months into the future.

“Like many things in this session it’s being rushed through without the forethought it deserves,” Dayton said of the bill.

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Closings set for Minnesota man who killed teens

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