Tax talk is heating up at the Capitol. A study of tax collections by the Minnesota Department of Revenue said the state's tax code is getting more regressive (wealthy paid fewer taxes as a percentage of income). MPR and the Pi Press have stories.
The DFL controlled House looked at placing some restrictions on media access on the House floor and in committee hearings. WCCO, ECM, Radio Free Nation and MPR's News Cut blog takes a look at the issue. Full disclosure alert: The proposed changes would impact how I do my job and I have asked that no changes in access happen.
The press corps was told nothing would change (right now) but just two hours after the meeting, Don Davis with Forum Communications was hassled in a committee meeting.
Essar Steel is looking for help to finance a northern Minnesota steel plant.
Schools can't start before Labor Day.
$40 million is urged to secure a northern Minnesota forest.
The Star Tribune, however, reports that concerns about a lack of Twin Cities projects could stall the funding created from the outdoors and arts amendment.
A DFL Senator takes aim at drug company gifts to doctors.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says President Obama's Farm Budget is DOA.
Peterson also wants to study how farmers can help control climate change.
Democrats face an internal revolt over President Obama's agenda.
U of M researchers praise Obama's decision on stem cells.
Renters are left out of Obama's bailout plan. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is mentioned.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar attended the Farmers Union convention.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar wants the ban on French cheese lifted.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
The absentee ballot pool shrinks which may make it harder for Republican Norm Coleman to make up the vote difference with Democrat Al Franken. AP, the Pi Press, the Star Tribune and MinnPost have stories.
The Fix wonders whether the race will ever end.
MNProgressiveProject interviews DFL candidate Matt Entenza.
The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul are on MPR's Midmorning this hour.
The McLaughlin Group says Gov. Pawlenty is a serious GOP contender in 2012.
Posted at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2009
by Tom Scheck
On MPR's Midmorning, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman discussed the race for governor and the potential that the two DFLers may have to run against each other in 2010. It was an interesting segment and you can listen to the give and take here.
MPR's News Cut also live-blogged the entire show.
Posted at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
A bill to allow the medical use of marijuana in Minnesota cleared another committee in the state Senate today.
The Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division advanced the measure on a divided voice vote. Under the bill, doctors could prescribe marijuana to qualified patients for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition. Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, the bill's chief author, explained that patients could buy marijuana from registered suppliers, or they could grow their own. But Murphy said the state would not test the strength of those plants.
"I don't know how you answer the question of content, THC content, of the product without testing every plant that's grown," Murphy said. "Now, I don't think that that is a responsible thing for us to do. One, the cost would be astronomical. Two, you don't need to because once again this is not one of those heavy narcotics that kills people."
The same bill is also advancing in the Minnesota House. But Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he remains firmly opposed to the measure.
Posted at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Democrat Al Franken is in Washington D.C. again today. Politico is reporting that he's meeting with Senate leadership:
"I believe we are going to win the election contest, and after that, Sen. Coleman can choose to do what he wants," Franken said.
If Franken wins and Coleman appeals, it would land in the state Supreme Court.
If the state's high court rules "in our favor, then I imagine I'll be certified and it won't be very controversial that I'll be seated." He added: "We're not attempting to be seated before that."
Side note: A recent Supreme Court order said Franken won't be getting an election certificate until an expected appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is finished.