News @ Noon: Rep. Dorholt Talks Minimum Wage, Marijuana, And E-Cigs [AUDIO]
ST. CLOUD - Democratic State Representative Zach Dorholt of St. Cloud was on the News @ Noon show on WJON this (Friday) afternoon.
On raising the minimum wage:
The DFL-led State Legislature is determined to raise the state's minimum wage this year. There appears to be support to gradually raise the current $6.15 per hour minimum to $9.50 by 2016.
However, they are in disagreement over some of the other details. House leaders want the minimum wage to rise automatically with inflation. Dorholt of St. Cloud says he's open to that idea.
But over in the Senate, Majority Leader Tom Bakk doesn't want the automatic increases. Yesterday Bakk proposed putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot this November asking the voters if they think the wage should be forever linked to inflation. Representative Dorholt says he's okay with the ballot question.
On Medical Marijuana:
Medical Marijuana has been this year's political football down at the State Capital. The issue hasn't been divided along party lines either.
Dorholt completely supports the bill.
The issue has vexed Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, who has come under fire from advocates for how he's handled it.
Among Republican Gubernatorial candidates, only state Senator Dave Thompson and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson say they are open to the possibility of signing a bill. State Representative Kurt Zellers and former Representative Marty Seifert voted against a medical marijuana plan in 2009. Businessman Scott Honour says marijuana should be handled at a federal level.
On Electronic Cigarettes:
State Lawmakers are trying to get a handle on the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes.
Dorholt says, because e-cigs are so new, it's a very unregulated industry.
The House and Senate are debating whether to put the same restrictions on electronic cigarettes as convention smoking.