Posted at 9:24 AM on February 26, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
There were a few firsts yesterday. For the first time in twenty years, the gas tax will increase. It's also the first time that the Legislature voted to override a veto by Gov. Pawlenty. MPR, the Pi Press, Forum Communications, the Star Tribune, the St. Cloud Times, the Mankato Free Press, KARE and AP have stories.
The Pi Press has a story on the impact of the bill on the average consumer.
GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert will hold a news conference this afternoon to "an update on the leadership status of the six Republicans who voted to override Governor Tim Pawlenty's veto yesterday." GOP Rep. Rod Hamilton voluntarily gave up his leadership position on the Ag Committee. GOP Rep. Bud Heidgerken said he was told he didn't have the option and would have to give up his seat on the K12 committee. MPR has a story on the possible political fallout from the override.
KARE has a story on the political fallout for the GOP members who voted to override. Will they lose endorsement contests? The election?
The prospects of a Duluth to Twin Cities train are picking up steam at the Capitol.
The Star Tribune says lawmakers may offer added protections for home buyers vs. construction firms.
Some lawmakers are seeking a ban in certain chemicals in child products.
The Northwest Airlines Call Center is considered safe.
The Star Tribune writes about cost concerns and the Central Corridor.
KARE wonders whether light rail is a boon to consumers.
NGA Winter Meetings
The Pi Press says governors agree to pursue clean energy but are undecided on a second economic stimulus plan.
AP says President Bush is cool to the idea of using federal funds for bridges.
Anti-war Democrats are pondering their next step. GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is mentioned in the story.
The Hill says Dems will juggle the war and the economy. Coleman is mentioned.
The GAO finds data protection is lacking. Coleman is mentioned.
GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad is named to the board of directors at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Forum Communications says farmers await a new Farm Bill.
The FDA warns Duluth about prescription drug importation from Canada.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
MoveOn will target Coleman in ads. Does this help or hurt Coleman among the general electorate?
Democrat Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer says he's running an "ideas campaign."
Democrat Mike Ciresi tells ECM that he's the best candidate.
2008 Race for President
John McCain and Hillary Clinton criticize Barack Obama's comments on Cuba.
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd backs Obama.
Democratic governors see John McCain as formidable.
Pawlenty for VP Watch
The Hill writes that Florida's governor talked with Pawlenty and South Carolina's governor a lot but not about VP prospects.
Townhall.com says Pawlenty has a mullet.
2008 Race for Congress
The Rochester Post Bulletin says the GOP hopes to win Minnesota's 1st District seat.
Posted at 10:44 AM on February 26, 2008
by Tom Scheck
AP has the story:
ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota State Council of the Service Employees International Union has endorsed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken.
The union says it had candidates seeking endorsement spend a workday with an SEIU member. Franken spent one with a Robbinsdale nursing home worker. The SEIU has more than 28,000 members in Minnesota.
Franken previously won endorsements from Education Minnesota, which represents 70,000 teachers, and Council 5 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 43,000 public and nonprofit employees.
The satirist's leading rival for the DFL Party endorsement, attorney Mike Ciresi, has the backing of another AFSCME local, Council 65, which represents 13,000 county government employees.
Posted at 6:34 PM on February 26, 2008
by Tom Scheck
GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert took the leadership positions away from the six Republicans who voted to override Gov. Pawlenty's veto of the transportation funding bill. Seifert said
"I hope it would show that we want positive leadership from Republicans. These are leadership positions where we expect other Republicans to follow along," Seifert said. "How can we have members following my leadership follow their leadership in these committees, when they are not following my leadership on the floor?"
Seifert also said he will not recruit any candidates to run against the six incumbents but said it was unlikely that the caucus would back them financially in the upcoming election. MN GOP Party Chair Ron Carey said the party would support the endorsed candidates.
Rep. Ron Erhardt said was not happy with the move:
"I told him that I was not voluntarily resigning, and to get rid of me he was going to have to fire me."
Erhardt said he expected to lose his party's endorsement, but intends to run either in a primary or as an independent.
Rep. Kathy Tingelstad of Andover said she would continue to seek re-election, whether or not she has the GOP endorsement.
Rep. Bud Heidgerken of Freeport said his vote could cost him re-election but he said it was the right thing to do. Heidgerken said he doesn't understand why he's being disciplined for voting for the best interests of his district.
"I always feel badly when people try to chastise me for doing right, until they prove to me that I've done wrong," said Heidgerken. "I will take the repercussions if I've done wrong. I will step down if I've done wrong -- but I have not done wrong. I have done right by my people."
Seifert said the options were laid out to the six Republicans and they still decided to vote for the override. Seifert said he would oppose any moves to strip the lawmakers of staff. He also said he was trying to knit the caucus together after the override vote.
Here are the six:
Bud Heidgerken of Freeport
Neil Peterson of Bloomington
Ron Erhardt of Edina
Kathy Tingelstad of Andover
Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake
Ron Abeler of Anoka
Posted at 6:43 PM on February 26, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty lashed out at lawmakers today for overriding his veto of a transportation bill. Pawlenty also blamed the Democrats in control of both chambers even though eight Republicans - six in the House and two in the Senate -- also voted to override his veto.
"I don't think I had a bad day yesterday. I think it was the taxpayers of Minnesota who had a bad day. As the taxpayers of Minnesota get a full handle on what the DFL caucuses are doing to them, it's the DFL that's going to have a bad day."
Pawlenty warned lawmakers to "buckle their seat belts" for the rest of the session.
Is this circling the wagons after a stinging defeat or a harbinger for the rest of the session?
Posted at 6:49 PM on February 26, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Pawlenty sat down with the Washington Post's The Fix to talk about his proudest accomplishment as governor (held the line on spending) and why he's backing John McCain for president. He also deflected the now standard VP question:
“That support (for McCain) was not connected to in any manner or degree or with any notion that I would be a vice presidential running mate. As to that issue, I support him because he would be a fantastic president for the country not because I need or want a different job.”
Pawlenty is a lot happier in this interview than he was during today's news conference.