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Minn. leaders try to steer around session pitfalls

Minnesota Legislature
Minnesota Legislature

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Make no waves. That's a guiding principle for the Democrats in charge of Minnesota's Legislature.

Lawmakers arrive Tuesday for an annual session that could extend into mid-May. Party leaders are eager to prevent, or at least contain, controversy that can leave a bad taste for voters or alienate important constituencies in a year when the Democratic House majority and Governor Mark Dayton's re-election are on the line. Lawmakers have an $825 million surplus at their disposal.

Topping the Democrats' ``must do'' list are a borrow-and-build plan for government construction projects and a boost in the state's minimum wage. There's potential for friction over medicinal marijuana, a costly Senate office building, oversight laws related to the beleaguered health exchange and a new mining venture in northeastern Minnesota.