Posted at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The House will vote on a $200 million bonding bill today.
The Senate is set to
vote on their Education Finance bill today as well. Update: I'm told the Senate will vote on it tomorrow.
The pace of the Legislature will pick up after the Easter break.
Gov. Pawlenty's hometown, South St. Paul, says it needs LGA to survive.
Pawlenty and North Dakota's governor also vowed to provide flood relief to the Fargo/Moorhead area.
Land and money troubles slow plans for veterans' cemeteries across the state.
The Twin Cities Gang Strike Force says Aloha to Hawaii for a conference. Taxpayers say Aloha to thousands of dollars that paid for the trip.
School districts have nearly $1 billion in reserve. That leads some to suggest that they can handle delays in school payments.
Schools eye stimulus money to make their buildings energy efficient.
Stimulus money begins to shape the Minnesota Senate budget.
A clean water plan is beginning to emerge at the Capitol.
U.S. Census officials work to count everyone in Minnesota.
Pawlenty is warming to rail-line projects.
Indian leaders and state lawmakers are working to save some Native American languages.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
The counting in the U.S. Senate race could resume this week (if the court decides to open ballots).
Republican Norm Coleman is no longer denying contact with the FBI.
The Star Tribune is looking at the ballots from one particular family.
The Hill says Senate Republicans back Coleman all the way. If they didn't, it would be news, wouldn't it?
Politico calls the fundraising a "gravy train" for the candidates.
MinnPost says Pawlenty and Coleman may finally be able to separate themselves.
President Obama launches an effort to reduce nuclear arms.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is touring Asia with John McCain.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is headed to Saudi Arabia for a trade mission.
The Jewish Daily also profiles Ellison.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will hold community forums this week.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman gets another challenger.
Mark Dayton tells supporters that he helped sandbag in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Posted at 10:06 AM on April 6, 2009
by Tim Nelson
There have been assorted sightings of former St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly in recent days, at his home on the city's East Side and in church, among them.
He went to work for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., about three years ago, after suffering a historic defeat in the 2005 election. Now that George Bush is out of office (Kelly was one of the lone Democrats to endorse his re-election in 2004), the former mayor seems to be out at the EPA, as well.
At least, that's what his voice mail says.
A call Saturday to check in with His Former Honor has gone unanswered so far, but we hear he's been checking in with some former St. Paul city hall folks already.
Posted at 10:59 AM on April 6, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Hockey's loss won't be football's gain in the Minnesota Senate.
The Senate taxes committee voted today to remove a provision from the omnibus education bill to designate ice hockey as the official state sport. The committee's chairman, Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, surprised some observers when he suggested a reference to football in the bill could have been more useful.
"I was wondering if this said football, if there might be a little economic development provision that somewhere later on in the session might be germane to the education bill," Bakk said. "I have this little economic development project that's being considered. I'm kind of looking for a place to put it."
The comment appeared to be a related to efforts to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. But after the meeting, Bakk explained he was only joking, and he has no stadium plan.
The Vikings stadium issue has gone nowhere this session. A House bill to create a Twin Cities area casino and use the proceeds to build a new stadium has not received a hearing. The NFL team's Metrodome lease expires after the 2011 season.
Posted at 2:00 PM on April 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Kate Mohn and Pat Turgeon, with the Secretary of State's office, walked what they say are the final 3 Rejected Absentee Ballots that need to go to the three judge panel. Mohn said the ballots were from Freeborn, Carlton and Wright Counties. Last week, the panel ordered a review of 400 ballots but that number has now dropped to 387.
Posted at 3:33 PM on April 6, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was on MSNBC this afternoon to talk about the state's long-running U.S. Senate race. Talking Points Memo highlighted a portion of Pawlenty's discussion that said the legal matter could take "a few more months":
"It's frustrating that this has taken so long but we need to get a proper and just and accurate and legal result and it's going to take, it looks like, a few more months to get that."
What Talking Points Memo didn't include in its video snippet was Pawlenty saying the focus of an appeal shouldn't be all on Norm Coleman:
"...you shouldn't assume that Norm Coleman's going to lose the appeal. He's got legitimate legal issues that he's raised raised. That same question might be asked of Al Franken. The district court process is going to be revealed sometime in the next couple of weeks, like I said, then it will go to the court of appeals in all likelihood or the Supreme Court in Minnesota, the state-based system. And that might take a month or two to decide. But then that federal court process is available. I'm not saying one side or the other will take it but it shouldn't all be on Norm's back, it could very well at that point be on Al Franken's back."
I can't find the entire video but someone sent me the transcript. Here it is...
Norah O'Donnell: And it is the race that never ends. I'm talking of course about the Minnesota senate race. Today is Day 154 and we still don't have a winner. Tomorrow, a three-judge panel counts the last big batch of contested ballots, 400 in all, as Senator Coleman hopes to overcome Al Franken's 225-vote lead. In the end, it may all come down to one man, the Governor of Minnesota who will eventually have to sign the election certificate. On the eve of the panel's decision that man, Governor Tim Pawlenty, joins me now. Governor, good to see you, thank you so much for joining us.
Tim Pawlenty: Good to be with you, Norah.
O'Donnell: I just want to read you and everybody watching, too, from Politico today because they have a story called the Franken-Coleman gravy train that rides on. And here's an excerpt, it says this, quote the epic senate recount battle between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken is turning out to be an incomparable gravy train. Coleman and Franken have raised more than $12 million between them since the election, mostly to pay their mounting legal bills. Governor, when is enough enough?
Pawlenty: Well, I think enough is enough, Norah, when we get a proper result. And of course there's legitimate issues that have been raised about these ballots being counted or not counted. That's been litigated. Now of course it's going to be finalized at the lower court level hopefully sometime soon, but then one side or the other's quite likely to take it to the Minnesota appellate process.
O'Donnell: If this three-judge panel tomorrow, after counting these ballots, says that Al Franken has the lead, will you sign the election certificate that makes him Senator Al Franken?
Pawlenty: The Minnesota Supreme Court said in a recent decision that a certificate shouldn't issue or -- isn't likely that it should issue until the state court process has run its course. That would include the appellate process. It's pretty clear that one side or the other's going to take that next step, Norah, and it wouldn't be appropriate for me or anyone else to step in front of it. It's frustrating that this has taken so long but we need to get a proper and just and accurate and legal result and it's going to take, it looks like, a few more months to get that.
O'Donnell: I know that you -- A few more months, huh? I know that you mentioned the appellate process, but what about, you know, the Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate here, John Cornyn, Mitch McConnell, they're encouraging Senator Coleman to take this all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. How would Minnesotans feel about the U.S. Supreme Court deciding this?
Pawlenty: Well, you shouldn't assume that Norm Coleman's going to lose the appeal. He's got legitimate legal issues that he's raised raised.
That same question might be asked of Al Franken. The district court process is going to be revealed sometime in the next couple of weeks, like I said, then it will go to the court of appeals in all likelihood or the Supreme Court in Minnesota, the state-based system. And that might take a month or two to decide. But then that federal court process is available. I'm not saying one side or the other will take it but it shouldn't all be on Norm's back, it could very well at that point be on Al Franken's back.
O'Donnell: Well, let me ask you, because in 2001, when you were thinking about challenging Senator Coleman for the Senate, you received a call from Vice President Cheney asking you to step aside for the good of the party. Does someone need to do the same for Senator Coleman and say, it's time to step aside and let's move forward?
Pawlenty: Well, Norm Coleman is a friend of mine, I've talked to him about this over the months and he is somebody who hasn't decided what he's going to do. So I think there's a lot of presumption being made about what he may or may not do throughout this process, a lot of it decides on -- will depend on the court decision. So, everybody can take those forks in the roads when we get to them and we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, but it's important, it's very important that we have a result here that isn't some scam or isn't based on some improper result or incomplete result, that we have a court that says this is the proper way to do it and the proper result. if we don't have that, it's going to corrode and undermine a much more important point which is our election system and the integrity of our elections.
O'Donnell: All right, Governor. I think you made some news by saying this is going to take several more months. People in your state will not have another senator, only one senator. Governor, thank you for your time, we appreciate you joining us.
Pawlenty: You're welcome, Norah.