- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014
Dayton denies telling mother to buy pot on street

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday denied a mother’s claim that he had suggested she buy marijuana from the street to treat her 2-year-old son’s intractable epilepsy because the drug is not a legal medicine in the state.

Jessica Hauser, a Woodbury mother who has been advocating for legalizing medical marijuana, was among a small group of supporters who met in early March with the Democratic governor. She also alleged Wednesday that Dayton had told her another option would be to buy the drug in a state where medical marijuana was legal and bring it back to Minnesota. Such an activity would be considered a federal crime.

Appearing publicly for the first time since Hauser made the allegations, Dayton answered “no” when asked if he recommended an illegal purchase. Dayton refused to elaborate.

“I’ve said all I’m going to say about medical marijuana,” he said after a news conference on an unrelated issue. “I’m not going to discuss it further.”

Hauser, 36, stands by her version.

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Interim MNsure CEO to testify before Congress

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The interim chief executive officer of MNsure is being asked to testify before Congress.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports the House Oversight Committee has asked CEO Scott Leitz to testify at a hearing entitled, “Examining ObamaCare’s Problem-Filled State Exchanges.”

The Star Tribune reports he will testify Thursday about the troubled rollout of the online health care insurance exchange.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California is sending letters to 10 governors, including Gov. Mark Dayton. The letter seeks internal documents and communications between state employees and contractors and Obama Administration officials relating to their insurance exchanges.

In a statement, Leitz said he’s happy to comply and will say Minnesota has among the lowest insurance premiums and MNsure has enrolled more than 150,000.

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Invasive species violations dropped in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The rate of aquatic invasive species violations dropped in Minnesota in 2013.

According to the Department of Natural Resources’ annual report, the violation rate dropped to 20 percent last year, compared to 31 percent in 2012.

The rate is the proportion of people who were issued citations at roadside check stations set up by conservation officers.

Lt. Col. Rodmen Smith, the DNR Enforcement Division assistant director, says the decrease is good but one in five boaters is still breaking the law. This year, the DNR will increase enforcement of aquatic invasive species laws.

The report also says DNR officials who look at boats and equipment at water accesses conducted 123,000 inspections, which was an increase of nearly 62 percent since 2011.

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Pakistani student sues Minnesota hospital, doctor

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The family of a Pakistani student who made headlines earlier this year because he faced possible deportation while receiving medical care after a serious car accident is now suing a northern Minnesota hospital and the doctor who treated him in the emergency room.

A lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa claims a doctor at Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital didn’t quickly ensure that Bajwa’s airway was unobstructed. As a result, the lawsuit says, Bajwa suffered permanent brain injury and brain damage.

The lawsuit names the hospital and Dr. Peter T. Olsen as defendants. It alleges Bajwa is permanently injured and disabled as a direct and proximate result of Olsen’s negligence.

“Dr. Olsen’s failure to timely establish and ensure an adequate airway was a direct contributing cause of permanent anoxic brain injury and damage,” the lawsuit says. It seeks damages in excess of $75,000 to cover medical care and treatment. It also says Bajwa has endured pain, disability and emotional distress, as well as lost wages and a reduced earning capacity in the future.

A message left with the hospital chief executive wasn’t immediately returned Friday. A message was also left with Olsen, who was not in the office Friday.

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