Posted at 7:16 AM on March 25, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Pawlenty tells the AP that he plans on meeting with DFL legislative leaders to talk about the budget. He says, however, that tax increases are a dead end.
Pawlenty appointed Dave Metzen, brother of Minnesota Senate President Jim Metzen, to head the Office of Higher Education.
A Republican in the Minnesota House wants to end integration aid.
Mary Kiffmeyer calls for a probe of Sara Jane Olson's fugitive voting. The Ramsey County Attorney declined.
Supporters say a Clean cars bill could help asthma patients.
The Senate committee approves an anti-bullying bill.
The NY Times says states are relaxing prison policies to cut costs.
Lawmakers want greater accountability from DEED.
Some St. Paul businesses are pushing for construction mitigation to offset any losses from the Central Corridor construction.
The Taxpayer's League's Tax Rally is scheduled for May 2nd.
Antibiotics pose a problem for ethanol producers.
Minnesota 2020 says LGA cuts would harm the quality of life in many cities.
President Obama says his plan is "inseparable " from U.S. recovery.
Obama is sending more DEA agents to the Mexican border.
The EPA delays hundreds of coal mining permits.
The Senate confirms Gary Locke to Commerce.
Swampland mocks GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's questioning of Tim Geithner.
Reuters also mentions Bachmann in a story on a push for a single currency which the Obama Administration opposes.
Fed Ex threatens to cancel plane orders if a law is passed allowing workers to unionize at the package delivery company. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
Duluth gets $7.1 million for the airport. Oberstar is mentioned.
Oberstar also says airlines are "whining" about anti-trust immunity.
Republicans, like GOP Rep. John Kline, introduce a plan to rebuild savings.
2008 Race for U.S .Senate
Republican Norm Coleman is considering a federal appeal.
CQ examines what could happen next in the U.S. Senate race and the political implications for Coleman, Democrat Al Franken and Gov. Pawlenty. One note: Pawlenty cannot appoint a successor as Hamline Prof. David Schultz suggests.
Posted at 12:20 PM on March 25, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Two Republican legislators say they want to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion by banning heavy trucks from the Stillwater lift bridge.
Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, and Sen. Ray Vandeveer, R-Forest Lake, are sponsoring legislation that would impose a new weight limit of 26,000 pounds for trucks using Highway 36 to cross the St. Croix River. The current limit is 80,000 pounds. Dean says several accidents involving large trucks have closed the bridge for repairs. He says too many trucks are driving through Stillwater to avoid the weigh stations on Interstate 94.
"The city of Stillwater has recently done saturation studies that have pulled these trucks over to find out why they're there and if there's anything wrong with them," Dean said. "Over half of the trucks that were pulled over had things wrong with them , from weight to improper load to problems with the vehicle itself."
The mayor of Stillwater, Ken Harycki, agrees. He's also concerned about the traffic jams caused by truck traffic.
Getting these trucks out of downtown Stillwater, out of a tourist destination where we have over a million tourists a year visting us, is very important," Harycki said. "It's obvisouly just an accident waiting to happen."
Dean's bill cleared the House Transportation Policy Committee this week. Its next stop is the Commerce Committee. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Vandeveer, is waiting for a floor vote.
Posted at 1:27 PM on March 25, 2009
by Tom Scheck
On Tuesday, Gov. Pawlenty traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington to take part in a townhall style forum with the members of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infrantry Division. 1,037 members of the division have been training at Fort Lewis and will soon be deployed to Iraq. The fine folks with the Minnesota National Guard were kind enough to record the event and send me the audio. Here it is:
Note: Photo supplied by Governor Pawlenty's office.
Posted at 4:41 PM on March 25, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Pawlenty was talking to reporters after he and some of the state's other constitutional officers worked to speed funding for flood aid.
Pawlenty also said he'll issue an election certificate in the U.S. Senate race when the law requires it but added that a federal judge could forbid him from issuing the certificate until the matter is settled in federal court. This isn't a change from the story I did last month.
Pawlenty also said he's meeting with DFL legislative leaders tomorrow to discuss the budget. He said, however, that he won't support a tax increase of any kind and didn't like the plans put forward by Democrats in the House and Senate.
Posted at 5:18 PM on March 25, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Governor Pawlenty's schedule says that he will unveil "the state's new government spending and accountability website" at a news conference tomorrow. Pawlenty's spokesman Brian McClung said the website details state government spending on a broad basis and would keep journalists, bloggers and geeks busy (I qualify in all three of those categories). Pawlenty is following the lead of several other states that have also put some or all of their spending online. Florida and Texas are just a few of the states that have active sites (here's a story on Florida's site). USA Today says other states are also considering such sites.
DFL Sen. Ann Rest of New Hope is proposing legislation that would also require such a database.