Gov. Pawlenty plays a little peak a boo with his budget announcement. He'll release the details at 2:30 this afternoon. Just in time for the state agencies to go dark for the weekend. Just in time for us to barely get our stories on for the 5 pm news. Just in time for us to get wonderful and colorful reaction from opposing points of view. Do you think it was planned that way?
MPR reports that union organizing heats up in Attorney General Lori Swanson's office. No comment from Swanson.
Lead House and Senate negotiators will start reconciling their differences on the bonding bill. Gov. Pawlenty says the size of the bill is too big. MPR, the Pi Press, the Star Tribune, AP, the St. Cloud Times and Forum Communications have stories.
Bar owners vow to keep theater nights going despite a MDH ruling saying they violate the smoking ban law. We'll see how many $10k fines it takes for them to fold.
Minnesota manufacturers put out the help wanted sign for skilled workers.
The Pawlenty Administration curtails public access to certain data.
State aid to cities will increase $90 million under a plan.
A Senate subcommittee says GOP Sen. Julianne Ortman does not have a conflict of interest because she works for the Hennepin County Sheriffs Department and sponsored certain legislation.
The Hill says passing a budget in the Senate could be difficult. GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is mentioned.
Coleman seeks federal help to battle bovine TB.
He also wants to sweeten a sugar deal.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum signs on to a letter asking the Defense Department relating to the Army error leading to a denial of GI Bill education benefits to hundreds of members of the Minnesota and Iowa National Guard that served in Iraq
Lawmakers may extend the current Farm Bill one month while negotiations continue on a new Farm Bill. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is scheduled to have hip replacement surgery.
The FAA files a record fine against Southwest Airlines. Oberstar is mentioned.
2008 U.S. Senate Race
Democrat Al Franken agrees to pay a worker comp fine.
Franken was in Washington DC on Wednesday for a fundraiser.
A second Senate candidate, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, failed to provide worker's comp.
MinnPost says Democrat Mike Ciresi is losing in the delegate count.
The New York Times says Democrats are hoping to pick up 60 seats in the Senate.
2008 Race for Congress
The Fix puts Minnesota's 3rd as ninth most competitive race.
2008 Race for the Legislature
Three of the so-called "rogue Republicans" have endorsing conventions this weekend.
The Pi Press says GOP Rep. Dennis Ozment says his former GOP foe is "just not electable." Ozment is retiring.
2008 Race for President
Ron Paul steps aside but says the Revolution will continue.
Pawlenty for VP Watch
AP says John McCain is noncommittal on a VP choice.
Attorneys ask St. Paul to protect the rights of protesters.
Posted at 9:56 AM on March 7, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty was on Hannity and Colmes last night to talk about John McCain's chances. He was also asked about being a potential running mate:
"I have never discussed it with Senator McCain, and Senator McCain's confirmed publicly he hasn't discussed it with anybody else. Now that he's got the nomination, I'm sure he'll put the process in place to vet candidates.
But know that he'll have dozens and dozens and dozens of fantastic candidates to consider. And for anybody to say there's one or two or five people who are going to be it, it's just pure and unadulterated speculation at this point."
Pawlenty was also asked about immigration and Jesse Ventura.
Posted at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2008
by Tom Scheck
It appears that the Minnesota Republican Party's return on investment was pretty good on their TV ad buy regarding the transportation bill. Comcast says the ad will run 82 times this week on Fox News. No other metro station is running the ad. The total cost in the metro area: $10k.
Compare that with the amount of coverage the ad received after MnGOP Chair Ron Carey held a news conference to announce the ad buy. He wouldn't detail the size of the ad buy except to say it was significant.
What was significant was the news coverage. MPR and WCCO radio ran stories on the ad during newscasts. The Pi Press, the Star Tribune, KSTP, Fox9 and AP had stories on the ad. Also, WCCO reality checked the ad on Wednesday. I'm told KARE also ran a story on the ad.
Judging by the targeted audience (Fox News) and the plea for fundraising and personal info on the website, the ad may be more of a party building tool than a call for action.
As one colleague put it "They really earned that earned media."
UPDATED QUESTIONS: This is a dilemma that newsrooms and reporters struggle with. When is it appropriate to cover an ad? How should we go about covering the ad? Does the size of the ad buy matter or is it the content? Does it matter if the ad is on TV or just a web ad?
Posted at 4:53 PM on March 7, 2008
by Tom Scheck
The governor is proposing $341 million in spending cuts, $250 from the state's budget and shifts $250 million from the health care access fund to balance the budget. The governor also wants to cut the sales tax by an eighth of a percent to stimulate the economy.
The largest spending cuts come from the Health and Human Services budget. There's cuts to nursing homes and a reduction in eligibility for some MinnesotaCare enrollees. The other major cuts come to the University of Minnesota and MnSCU.