The jobless rate jumps to 7.6%.
U.S. Senate Race
Elections officials describe counting errors.
Coleman's team also seizes on newfound ballots.
The Star Tribune says Franken is working to get rejected absentees from DFL areas into the count.
There's been a delay in the Texas lawsuit looking into alleged payments to Coleman.
Meanwhile, Norm Coleman's senate office is being decimated.
Senate DFLers say schools must take cuts.
The budget crisis could also close a college.
Gov. Pawlenty is headed to a security conference in Munich.
Attorney General Lori Swanson targets reverse mortgages.
Dems outspent the GOP in last year's Legislative races.
Legislation would prevent mentally ill patients from being enrolled in clinical trials.
The Senate struggles over the stimulus bill.
Tax problems plague another nominee.
GOP Rep. John Kline gets a seat on the Intelligence Committee.
Army suicides spike.
A panel says the feds overpaid banks with bailout money.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak begins his quest for a third term this weekend.
Posted at 11:35 AM on February 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty's February travel schedule could take him out of the state again. Pawlenty is headed to Munich, Germany this weekend for a Security conference.
The Conservative Political Action Conference has also invited Pawlenty to speak at its annual conference on February 28th. Pawlenty will be speaking right after a seminar called "How Barack Obama and Harry Reid hijacked the Senate."
Posted at 2:04 PM on February 6, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
The federal economic recovery package continues to weigh heavily on Minnesota lawmakers, who are waiting to see how much money is coming their way.
During today's weekly media briefing, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, said she was concerned that the U.S. Senate might
take direct aid to states out of the bill. Kelliher described state aid as a very important component of the $900 billion recovery bill.
"The federal government has the larger economic tools and levers that they can move, Kelliher said. "States do not have this. We think it's critical that this is included."
Kelliher told reporters she thought directing the package completely toward construction projects would be slightly misguided. Minnesota is facing a projected $4.8 billion budget deficit, and the speaker said she wants benefits for other public sectors, such as education, included in the federal bill .
"We know that this is not ongoing money," Kelliher said. "But the fact of the matter is the federal government has not lived up to Minnesota students in terms of what they have promises. And so we believe this is an important part of helping provide a bridge during these very difficult times."
Kelliher announced that members of the Legislative Commission on Planning and Fiscal Policy will meet Thursday to further discuss the economic stimulus. House and Senate leaders will use a satellite hookup to talk to representatives of the National Council State Legislatures. Management and Budget Commissioner Tom Hanson, who Gov. Pawlenty appointed to coordinate the federal money, is also expected to attend.
Senate Republicans criticized the DFL majority for relying too heavily on the federal stimulus. Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, said Democrats are waiting for Congress when they should be working on an alternative budget proposal.
"That's not a budget solution to just wait for what Congress is going to do," Michel said. "We need to solve Minnesota's budget deficit here in Minnesota."
Posted at 2:12 PM on February 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
As MPR's Bob Collins wrote earlier, Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken are doing a full court press on the press. Franken and Coleman have been doing interviews with several outlets (AP has a story out already and the Pi Press says it will sit down with him). MPR's Tom Crann will talk with Franken later this afternoon (we'll post the audio then).
Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is also sitting down for interviews. KSTP's At Issue will reportedly broadcast an interview with him on Sunday.
MPR's Tom Crann also talked with Coleman. Here's the interview:
Posted at 4:55 PM on February 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
DFL Sen. Chuck Wiger issued a news release this afternoon saying he would offer a bill that would allow slot machines in bars and the two metropolitan airports. He said he'll use that money for schools. Here's the release:
State Sen. Chuck Wiger announced that he will introduce legislation on Monday, Feb. 9 that allows video slot machines in bars and the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminals of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The proceeds of the machines will go to charitable gambling organizations and Minnesota's education system.
"This legislation will aid our state on two different fronts," said
Sen. Wiger. "Not only will this help our entire education system, but
it will also offer needed funding to great organizations like the
American Legion and VFW."
Revenue collected from the slot machines, equal to 28 percent of the
proceeds received from the operation of video lottery terminals, will be
split equally among early childhood education, k-12 education, and a
higher education scholarship that will be awarded to students receiving
a 3.0 grade average or better in college.
"Of course, the slot machines would be optional," said Sen. Wiger.
It is estimated that 3,200 establishments across the state would be
allowed to operate video slot machines if they chose to do so. Based on
that estimate, the annual proceeds would total $1.1 billion statewide.
"This session we will review several ideas to address our state's
critical budget situation," said Sen. Wiger. "My proposal is now on
the table and I look forward to getting feedback as we consider a
variety of options."
Senate co-authors of the legislation include Senators Linda Scheid,
James Metzen, Dan Sparks, and Dan Skogen. The chief author of the House
companion bill is Rep. Robin Brown.
I'm trying to see if anyone has a figure on how much this would raise over the next two years.
As I've reported earlier, gambling is one of the many revenue raisers that could be on the table this year to erase a nearly $5 billion deficit.
Posted at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Crann sat down with Al Franken this afternoon. Here's the interview: