Posted at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
An agreement has been reached on the economic stimulus package. No word on what Minnesota will receive from the deal. Officials will meet this afternoon for a briefing.
A legal expert says an overturned conviction is a sign that Minnesota's court system is collapsing because of lack of funds.
Clergy are urging lawmakers to protect the poor as they consider budget cuts.
Minnesotans are exhausting unemployment benefits in record numbers.
Despite the economic trouble, Essar Steel is moving forward with construction of a plant on the Iron Range.
The state is on track to meet emissions goals.
Vikings officials rip Gov. Pawlenty for lack of action on a new stadium for the team.
Expect a lot of arguments on the House floor today over House rules. The biggest sticking point will allow for a time limit on floor debate. That could end the marathon long sessions that have occurred over the past two years.
2008 U.S. Senate Race
Meanwhile, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won't seat Al Franken until the trial is over.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz pitches regional projects for stimulus dough.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is one of the House members that challenged bank officials over TARP funds.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will reportedly emcee an event at CPAC.
MPR says DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is taking on Wall Street with his bill to regulate derivatives.
Some transportation advocates are concerned that the stimulus money will ease concerns about a large transportation infrastructure bill. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
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Posted at 10:43 AM on February 12, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
A Minnesota House panel has defeated a proposal to require voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.
During a hearing today, opponents told members of the House state and local government committee that a photo ID requirement would disenfranchise many voters, especially senior citizens. Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, described the bill as a solution looking for a problem. Marquart said he doesn't want senior citizens facing extra hassles on election day.
"I think they have earned the right to vote, without having to go through a voter ID or a provisional voter deal that takes them through all kinds of hoops," Marquart said. "They've earned my trust."
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie testified against the bill, saying it would create added costs for elections officials and provide no benefit to the system.
But supporters claimed the requirement would help prevent voter fraud. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, argued that his bill was a reasonable step to improve the integrity of the election system.
"If we're proud of our elections, if we truly want to ensure that we're going to protect the integrity of the process and the legitimacy of the outcome for our children and our grandchildren it's imperative that we do something as simple as requiring a photo ID, Emmer said"
Posted at 10:48 AM on February 12, 2009
by Tom Scheck
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar says the state stands to gain 66,000 jobs from the stimulus bill. His office issued a news release with job projections by Congressional District. Here's the info:
Congressional District 1 Minnesota 7,100
Congressional District 2 Minnesota 8,400
Congressional District 3 Minnesota 7,600
Congressional District 4 Minnesota 7,000
Congressional District 5 Minnesota 7,200
Congressional District 6 Minnesota 8,700
Congressional District 7 Minnesota 6,800
Congressional District 8 Minnesota 7,400
UPDATED NOTE: I just added up the job projections by congressional district and got 60,200 jobs. Trying to confirm why there's a difference...
It's interesting that the 2nd, 3rd and 6th Districts stand to gain the most amount of jobs. GOP Rep. John Kline (2nd), GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen (3rd) and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann (6th) voted against the bill. Minnesota's 7th District (DFL Rep. Collin Peterson) stands to gain the fewest amount of jobs in the state. Peterson also voted against the bill.
As MPR noted earlier this week, the promise of job creation doesn't always pan out.
Update: Here's an explanation from Oberstar's office:
On Thursday, February 12, 2009 our office distributed state by state estimates of jobs created or saved by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that were prepared by the White House. On the Minnesota entry the estimated number of jobs saved in the eight congressional districts totaled 60,200, while the statewide total reported in the same document was 66,000.
This morning the White House explained the discrepancy in these figures. The 66,000 figure was a statewide estimate that was arrived at using a different set of figures than were used to develop the estimates for each congressional district. Because these calculations were done separately, using different data, the totals do not match precisely. White House officials say that the 66,000 figure was more accurate because it was based on more complete state data, they expect to revise the individual congressional district totals when more accurate information becomes available.
U.S. Congressman Jim Oberstar