Posted at 8:52 AM on March 19, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Today is the 5th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. Protests and memorial services are scheduled throughout the state. The Star Tribune and the Pi Press report that more Minnesota National Guard members headed to Iraq. Godspeed.
Some young vets who just got back from Iraq are having a tough time finding work.
The House Tax Committee considers a bill that would end all corporate subsidies. It also ends JOBZ, which is Gov. Pawlenty's key economic development initiative for rural Minnesota. MPR has a story on the entire bill. Finance and Commerce focuses on the elimination of JOBZ.
The showdown builds between trial lawyers and insurance companies over Good Faith. The bill would make it easier for people to sue their insurance companies. The Star Tribune, Fox9, the St. Cloud Times, AP and Forum Communications have stories.
A suspended lawyer in Attorney General Lori Swanson's office alleges ethical lapses in the office. MinnPost and MPR have stories. Swanson will make a public appearance at a news conference at 11 AM at Park Nicollet Hosptial in St. Louis Park:
What: Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson joins leaders of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 and dozens of seniors at a news conference.
Minnesota's AG and others are urging Park Nicollet Health Services to reconsider its decision to cut off medical coverage to thousands of Minnesota seniors.
The Hennepin County courthouse and many other courthouses are cutting back on hours because of the budget.
DFL college students complain of Gov. Pawlenty's proposed budget cuts to higher education.
MinnPost asks whether the Gov. Pawlenty's budget plan will scuttle federal money for transportation. Met Council Chair Peter Bell said so earlier this week.
The Pi Press says Metro Transit train and bus fares are likely to increase.
Gov. Pawlenty will be in Worthington a week from Friday.
Tons of sand and rock were piled on the bridge near the time of the collapse
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announces changes to No Child Left Behind. She also announced a new program but Minnesota isn't eligible. The New York Times and the Star Tribune say The Education Department is easing NCLB.
Lois Quam mentions in her op-ed that she took a trip to Norway with DFL Rep. Keith Ellison.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is expected to make a stop in Forest Lake next week.
Maintenance records at all U.S. airlines will be checked. Oberstar is mentioned.
FEMA tells Minnesotans to be prepared for flooding.
MPR says big decisions are ahead for ATV trails in Superior National Forest.
2008 U.S. Senate Race
Democrat Al Franken appeared on David Letterman.
The Rothenberg Political Report says a new group is airing a pro Norm Coleman ad.
Politico has a story on the race.
The Hill says DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer sees big gains this fall. Minnestota's Senate race is mentioned.
U.S Race for Congress
Politico says Minnesota's 3rd Congressional race between DFLers Ashwin Madia and Terri Bonoff mirrors the national battle for the DFL nomination.
Veterans, like DFL Rep. Tim Walz, are vying for veterans cash and an anti-war groups support.
Minnesota Legislative races
MinnPost says the "override six" are confident about winning reelection.
Pawlenty for VP Watch
Family Security Matters says John McCain should pick Mitt Romney for VP. Pawlenty is mentioned.
This South Carolina newspaper also mentions Pawlenty as running mate material.
Posted at 12:57 PM on March 19, 2008
by Tom Scheck
GOP Sen. Norm Coleman stopped by the Capitol press room this morning to talk about a variety of issues. He unloaded on Democrat Al Franken, saying he doesn't have the experience to be a senator. AP notes that Coleman used the term experience nine times and temperament seven times in five minutes. The Pi Press also has a story.
You can listen to Coleman's full remarks here.
Posted at 3:25 PM on March 19, 2008
by Tom Scheck
Democrats in the Minnesota House are targeting two of Gov. Pawlenty's prized programs in their budget solutions. The House Tax Chair is recommending to eliminate all corporate subsidies in the state tax code. That includes JOBZ, Pawlenty's top economic development initiative for rural Minnesota.
Meanwhile the chair of the House K12 Finance committee wants to prevent the expansion of Pawlenty's Q-Comp program, a merit-pay system for teachers. The money would then go out to schools more generally.
The Legislature is looking for ways to erase the state's $935 million deficit. Gov. Pawlenty has proposed spending cuts, the use of the state's budget reserve and money from a health care fund to balance the budget.
A conservative group called the American Future Fund says it will begin running an ad in support of Sen. Norm Coleman. You can see the ad on the Rothenberg Political Report.
The ad starts with images of the collapsed 35-W bridge and notes Coleman's role in securing federal funding for a new bridge. As far as we can tell it's the first time the collapse has been used in a political ad, and it's prompted a strong response from the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49. Here's the release they sent out:
"On August 1, 2007, we lost a friend and a brother. Greg Jolstad, an Operating Engineer who was working on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, died when the bridge collapsed without warning. We still mourn the sudden loss of our friend, a devoted husband, father, and a member of our union local.
"But today, an out-of-state political organization is running a campaign ad in Minnesota that uses images of a tragic event to promote a political agenda and the reelection campaign of Senator Norm Coleman.
"Greg's family and the people of Minnesota deserve better than the shameless exploitation of this tragedy for political purposes, which is beneath the standards of our great state. Out of respect for Greg, we ask Senator Norm Coleman to condemn this ad in the strongest possible terms, and call on him to demand that this shadowy organization to pull the ad off the air without delay."
The union local has endorsed DFLer Al Franken.
Because this ad is what's known as an independent expenditure, legally there is supposed to be no connection between the group that paid for it and Coleman's campaign.
So far there's been no response from the American Future Fund.
A spokesman for Coleman's campaign tells MPR's Mark Zdechlik that Coleman will not call for the ad to be pulled. The spokesman adds that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on independent ads targeting Coleman.