Good morning. I'm back after a two and a half week break where my plan to boost Minnesota's census count succeeded.
Not much has changed in my absence. The Senate race is still in flux with DFLer Al Franken leading and Republican Norm Coleman questioning the process.
The Legislature convened but they're facing a massive state budget deficit. There's plenty of talk and proposals to address it but nothing is set in concrete. Meanwhile, local government officials are worried.
The only thing that has changed is the beard of Bill Salisbury with the Pi Press. As one colleague pointed out - He may look like ZZ Top soon.
Legislative leaders start planning for an economic stimulus package.
Minnesota will also receive a report on budget trends this morning.
State Finance officials will release how much the state has provided bridge victims and their families.
AP says the need for social service programs in increasing as funding is on the chopping block.
A deal is possible on the storage of newborn's blood.
DFL Sen. Tom Bakk is seeking an increase in bonding authority.
The Pi Press says the DNR is selling land to plug a hole in the budget.
2008 Senate Race
DFLer Al Franken will attend Barack Obama's inauguration.
Republican Norm Coleman says Democrats are blocking constituent service.
The Pi Press has some questions and answers on the Senate race.
Politico says the GOP sees Franken as the top public enemy.
The Star Tribune says Coleman is casting a wider net for votes.
Forum Communications says some voters are surprised to be a part of Coleman's lawsuit.
PIM names Mark Ritchie the state's politician of the year.
President Bush and President-elect Obama are pushing for the second phase of the stimulus package for Wall St.
AP says the money will come with strings attached.
President-elect Obama says the stimulus plan needs to help people.
Obama says he plans on closing Gitmo.
The U.S. House passed a resolution in support of Israel. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and DFL Rep. Betty McCollum vote present.
AP says there will be a national push to ban cell phone use while driving.
Some small toy company officials are complaining about new regulations pushed by Klobuchar.
There is a renewed effort to push card check.
NPR takes a look at the trouble facing the FAA. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
AP says the GOP Convention didn't bring permanent business.
Posted at 12:20 PM on January 12, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Democrat Al Franken called on Gov. Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to sign his election certificate.
It's not going to happen.
Here's the response from Secretary of State Mark Ritchie:
"Minnesota law is very clear on when a certificate of election can be issued. Neither the governor nor I may sign a certificate of election in the U.S. Senate race until all election contests have reached a final determination. Even if the governor issues a certificate of election prior to the conclusion of the contest phase, I will not sign it."
Here's Gov. Pawlenty's response:
"I have a duty to follow state law and our statutes are clear on this issue. I am prohibited from issuing a certificate of election until the election contest in the courts has been resolved."
Norm Coleman's campaign manager, Cullen Sheehan, released this statement:
Coleman for Senate Campaign Manager Cullen Sheehan today issued the following statement:
"Al Franken knows he can't win this election contest based on the major inconsistencies and discrepancies that were part of the recount, and his attempted power play today is evidence of that. He can't and won't be seated in a seat he didn't win, so he is trying this underhanded attempt to blatantly ignore the will of Minnesotans and the laws of the state. The totals certified by the state canvassing board include double counted votes, inconsistencies regarding rejected absentee ballots, and inconsistent handling of newly discovered and missing ballots. These are serious issues that both the canvassing board and the Minnesota Supreme Court directed be handled in an election contest, and that will go forward as required."
Posted at 3:06 PM on January 12, 2009
by Tom Scheck
The latest economic update from Minnesota Management and Budget says state revenue is below the November forecast and the state budget deficit will be deeper than initially projected. Here's the report.
Posted at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2009
by Tom Scheck
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will make three appearances on Fox News and Fox Business in the next 24 hours. Bachmann's office says she will appear on Sean Hannity's show tonight at 8:30 Central and on Fox and Friends at 5:45 AM and on Fox Business at 6:05 AM.