Today is the day when we learn whether the fellowship on the transportation bill will break apart (see Lord of the Rings). The fellowship can be interpreted as the GOP Caucus which promised to protect Gov. Pawlenty's vetoes OR the six Republicans who broke ranks and voted for the transportation bill.
Republicans delay endorsing GOP Rep. Kathy Tingelstad over the weekend because she voted for the transportation bill (MDE check your spelling of Tingelstad).
MPR has a story on how Pawlenty's veto impacts transit.
The Star Tribune writes on Carol Molnau's decision to sell her farm near the road she pushed during her time as House Transportation Chair.
The budget forecast is also coming on Thursday and it doesn't look good.
The gun debate could return to the Capitol.
KARE writes about the smoking ban loophole. It says MDH is working with the AG's office to figure out a way to control the loophole.
KARE says illegal immigration is becoming an issue.
The state backs off a plan that would put sex offenders in Walker homes.
A Survey USA poll says a majority opposes increasing the sales tax for the outdoors and cultural programs. The poll also says a majority support seat belts for schools buses.
NGA Winter Meetings
Pawlenty also said coal has to be a part of the solution.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson tells Reuters that time is running out on the Farm Bill.
AP says identity theft prevention efforts are lacking. GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is mentioned.
Coleman also hears about forest product concerns.
Forum Communications says the impact of a NWA merger on the Upper Midwest is great. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is mentioned.
Klobuchar goes back to Yale for a fireside chat. I hope you said hello to Michael Khoo.
GOP Rep. John Kline nominated a Rosemount resident to the Air Force Academy.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is working to end forced marriages.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann met with Anoka business leaders.
2008 U.S. Senate Race
Stu Rothenberg says the race is a toss-up.
Democrat Al Franken speaks in Las Vegas.
DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez says in this op-ed that Coleman is too cozy with Bush.
2008 Race for President
A new Survey USA poll has both Clinton and Obama polling ahead of John McCain in Minnesota.
Republican John McCain makes his case to GOP governors.
"I love it," he said. "And I don't say that because I agree with Ralph Nader's politics; I just think it's tremendous to give people more options and more choices, but also it tends to at least peel off a little bit of support that would otherwise go to Democrats, and I think Republicans candidly are probably pretty happy about that."
Pawlenty for VP Watch
CNN says the possible VP picks stay mum. Pawlenty said on both CNN and Fox News that:
"I don't need a day job. I have one. I'm focused on being governor."
The Star Tribune said Pawlenty dismissed the VP talk on the Sunday talk shows.
Perhaps the Star Tribune has come down with Pawlenty fever - just like Joel Achenbach who offered this unflattering analysis after Pawlenty's appearances:
"He looks good, but surely he can't be that bland in real life. He stuck to the talking points as though the failure to do so would cause him to plunge through a trap door."
The Fix says Pawlenty is in play:
Tim Pawlenty: The two-term Minnesota governor has to be considered the frontrunner at the moment to be McCain's pick. He hails from the electorally important Midwest, is young enough to balance concerns about McCain's age, and he stuck by the Arizona senator in the darkest days of the campaign. The criticism that Pawlenty is an unknown on the national stage may, in fact, be an argument in his favor -- voters won't bring any preconceived notions about him to the ticket. Never forget that one of the guiding principles in picking a VP is to find someone who is comfortable being seen but not heard. Want more about the man they call "Tpaw"?
As did George Will.
Conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis writes in this Wall Street Journal op-ed that Pawlenty would be a bad VP choice (subscription required). Pawlenty defended his conservative credentials on Fox News Sunday.
A Survey USA poll says four in ten in Minnesota are in debt.
Posted at 9:17 AM on February 25, 2008
by Tom Scheck
The Minnesota House is expected to attempt to override Governor Pawlenty's veto of a $6.6 billion transportation bill. A study by the U of M's Center for Study of Politics and Governance shows how rare it is to override a governor. Here are the highlights:
-Overriding a governor’s veto is very difficult. 97% of all vetoes have stood.
-A successful override of Governor Pawlenty’s transportation veto would be only the 14th time that the legislature has successfully overridden one of the 447 vetoes by Minnesota governors since 1939.
-Only two governors in the past 70 years have vetoed as many bills as Governor Pawlenty. (Arne Carlson and Jesse Ventura).
One other note: A third of all attempts to override the governor's veto and 69% of all successful overrides occurred during Jesse Ventura's term as governor.
The House is where the action is. They need 90 votes to get to the magical two thirds needed to override.
The Minnesota Senate is a slam dunk since DFLers have enough votes to override and two Republicans also support the bill.
There's more info here from the Legislative Reference Library.
Posted at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2008
by Tom Scheck
A group called the Defense of Democracies has started running an ad in Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. The group is criticizing the House for failing to vote for an extension to a terrorist surveillance law. Here’s the ad.
The Foundation of Defense of Democracies says they are “the only nonpartisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.”
DFL Rep. Tim Walz said the ad is reckless:
“Implying that America’s surveillance against terrorists is crippled is a lie. What's worse, this group has encouraged terrorists to think our country’s surveillance system is weak, when nothing could be further from the truth. Why on earth would any group go on television and claim that America's intelligence agencies can't do their job?”
The Owatonna People's Press writes about the ad flap here.
Posted at 7:28 PM on February 25, 2008
by Tom Scheck
I'm sure you know by now that the Legislature has voted to override Gov. Pawlenty's veto of a bill that spends $6.6 billion on transportation over the next ten years.
Clearly the override means that the gas tax, metro sales tax and license tab fees are going up. In exchange, there will be increased investment in roads, bridges and transit. But what does it mean for the future of the legislative session?
Can lawmakers and Governor Pawlenty put this behind them and work together to balance the budget?
Will Democrats and Republicans in the House put the vote behind them and work together or will the veto override showdown sour the atmosphere?
What’s next for the six Republicans who voted for the override? There’s word that some of their committee assignments and staff are being taken away. Some (see Ron Erhardt) already have challengers for the GOP endorsement. Are others to come? Does it matter?
What does this mean for the vulnerable DFLers in the Minnesota House? Are they more vulnerable in November because of this vote?