St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton’s 7th State of the Union Address ended in dramatic fashion. In the final minutes of the annual speech to a joint meeting of the Minnesota House and Senate, the 69-year-old governor fainted.

Governor Dayton Faints
photo courtesy Minnesota News Network

The video of the event shows him teetering about 40 minutes into the address before his head falls to the podium and those in attendance rush to his aid and soften Dayton’s fall to the floor. He was briefly unconscious, but a statement from the Governor’s offices indicates he quickly regained his faculties after he was carried to a back room and was able to walk out of the State Capitol and return to his home to rest.

The statement says Dayton plans to be in attendance on Tuesday at a news conference to unveil his budget proposals for the 2017 Minnesota Legislature.

Prior to the dramatic ending to the evening, Governor Dayton appeared to trip on something as he approached the podium to deliver his State of the State Address. The speech focused on the advances made by Minnesota since his first State of the State speech in 2011, particularly the condition of the state’s finances. In January 2011, Minnesota’s legislature faced a $6.2 billion dollar budget shortfall, compared to this year’s projected $1.4 billion dollar surplus.

A large portion of the speech dealt with health care and the challenges facing Minnesotans forced to purchase health coverage through MNsure and other avenues in the individual marketplace. He, again, promoted his plan to provide $300 million dollars in relief to the estimated 125,000 Minnesotans hit with enormous premium increases through a 25-percent rebate.

Dayton also proposed a major expansion of the MinnesotaCare program. He called on lawmakers to allow Minnesotans with incomes up to 200-percent of the poverty level to purchase MinnesotaCare coverage. He estimated the start up cost at about $12 million dollars and indicated the premiums collected by the consumers would cover the cost. At the same time, the Governor says the competition from the state-run program would force insurance companies to lower their premiums.

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