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Taxes, recreational marijuana, dogs vs. cats: Where Minnesota’s legislative leaders stand on the critical issues

During the annual “Session Priorities” dinner of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, a panel of legislative leaders was asked to give one-word answers to a series of questions by host Tom Hauser.

From left: Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and KSTP reporter Tom Hauser.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

During the annual “Session Priorities” dinner of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, a panel of legislative leaders was asked a series of questions by host Tom Hauser.

A fixture of his Sunday interview program “At Issue” on KSTP, Hauser’s lightning round asks guests to give one-word answers to questions both serious and silly. Here are the questions and answers from DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park; House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown; Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa; and Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL- Cook:

Q: Dog or cat?

Daudt: Dog

Hortman: Dog

Gazelka: Dog

Bakk: Fish

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Q: Single payer health insurance: yes or no?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Eventually

Gazelka: No

Bakk: Not yet

Q: Tax conformity bill: January or May?

Daudt: Now

Hortman: May

Gazelka: NOT January

Bakk: Maybe not

Q: Business permitting: onerous or appropriate?

Daudt: Onerous

Hortman: (pause) It depends (afterward, Hortman added, “It depends on your perspective.”)

Gazelka: Onerous

Bakk: Difficult

Q: Transit: light rail or Bus?

Daudt: Bus

Hortman: Both

Gazelka: Bus

Bakk: Both

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Q: Redistricting: can’t wait or too soon?

Daudt: Too soon

Hortman: More time needed

Gazelka: No court needed

Bakk: It’s gonna make me run in ‘20

Q: Sunday morning, church or “At Issue?”

Daudt: Both

Hortman: Newspaper

Gazelka: Sorry, Tom

Bakk: I have to go to church

Q: Increase in the gas tax?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Maybe

Gazelka: No

Bakk: Yes

Q: Twitter or Instagram?

Daudt: Instagram

Hortman: Twitter

Gazelka: Twitter

Bakk: Neither

Q: Extend the health care reinsurance program?

Daudt: Yes

Hortman: Yes

Gazelka: Yes

Bakk: Probably can’t afford it

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Q: Recreational marijuana: legalize or decriminalize?

Daudt: It’s a federal issue

Hortman: There’s no rush on that

Gazelka: Neither

Bakk: Not yet

Q: Autonomous vehicles and when: five years or 25 years?

Daudt: Five years (afterward, Daudt said it would be less than five years)

Hortman: 10

Gazelka: 10

Bakk: 10, but only in First Class cities (cities with more than 100,000 residents)

Q: Hands free cellphone law: yes or no?

Daudt: It’s gonna happen

Hortman: Yes

Gazelka: Yes

Bakk: It will depend on the penalty. (Bakk added that some bills make violations a felony which, he said, would trigger more debate)

Q: Funding for opioid response: state general fund or from drug industry?

Daudt: General fund

Hortman: Industry

Gazelka: Small industry contribution

Bakk: Providers

Q: Renewable energy mandates: yes or no?

Daudt: No

Hortman: Definitely

Gazelka: No

Bakk: I have a long answer and if I don’t get to use it I’ve got to say no

Q: Special session: yes or no

(answered in reverse order)

Bakk: Not up to me

Gazelka: Help me out Tom, No

Hortman: Hopefully not

Daudt: (in reference to Hortman’s answer and an earlier joke by Hauser) So you learned that’s a 75 percent chance.