Posted at 7:22 AM on May 4, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Metro area schools close after a few possible H1N1 flu cases are discovered.
Under the Dome
Conference Committees will continue to meet this week to work on their budget bills. DFL leaders continue to push for public negotiations.
The Environment and Energy and the Transportation conference committee reports are wrapped up. The Ag and Vets and Economic Development conference committee reports aren't finished yet according to MPR's Tim Pugmire.
Gov. Pawlenty and DFL lawmakers are disagreeing over money in the Health Care Access Fund.
Pawlenty is also telling lawmakers to keep high-speed rail language out of the transportation bills.
St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth are arguing for a revenue fix that doesn't include property taxes.
The state is tussling over Arts funding. Full disclosure alert: MPR is mentioned.
The state's energy guru says financing is an obstacle for the state going green.
Thousands attended a tax cut rally on Saturday.
Cities and the state are wrangling over low level speeding fines.
Duluth schools planning is a mess.
A Minneapolis teacher is named teacher of the year.
Jury selection for the 3M pollution trial begins today.
President Obama will introduce changes to the nation's international tax code.
Minnesota's delegation starts to get lobbied on climate change.
Social Security benefits are not expected to rise in 2010.
President Obama held pragmatic views of the Supreme Court during his time as a law professor.
There's a wide number of names being considered to replace David Souter.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she has faith that Obama will pick someone who is qualified.
CBS picks up on the DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar works overtime as the state's only Senator" theme.
Republicans on congressional security committees, including GOP Rep. John Kline, are asking the FBI to examine the national security implications of awarding a contract to a company partly owned by a French company. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison will be on MPR's Midmorning today to discuss a bill that cracks down on the credit card industry.
Ellison also touted plans to fight youth crime.
Local governments get water treatment projects. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
Al Franken sits down with the Star Tribune.
Gov. Pawlenty's disapproval ratings continue to rise in the latest Survey USA poll.
MinnesotaBrown interviews Matt Entenza.
Good-bye Jack Kemp.
Posted at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
The Minnesota House and Senate will take action today on two of the smaller pieces of the state budget.
Conference committees met over the weekend to reach agreements on a transportation bill and an environment and energy bill. Rep. Frank Hornstein, DFL-Minneapolis, a member of the transportation conference committee, said the compromise bill preserves current funding for the state patrol and capitol security, erases a Metro Transit operating deficit and keeps the Department of Transportation running. He said the Senate's primary-offense seat belt provision was removed from the bill, but the issue remains alive. Hornstein said a stand-alone seat belt bill is one committee away from a full vote of the House.
"It's our view that the House ought to vote on it up or down, not part of an omnibus bill," Hornstein said. "And that's our intention to do this year, assuming it gets through the committee structure."
Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, a member of the environment and energy conference committee, said he thinks Gov.Tim Pawlenty will sign that bill after negotiators removed objectionable language on chemical regulation. Hansen said the bill cuts $60 million across all state environmental agencies, but keeps priority programs intact.
"We're choosing for those things where we can have people putting projects in the ground, putting people to work and doing things on the landscape that are going to help out water quality and help out people out there," Hansen said.
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said she expects action early this week on the bills funding agriculture and veterans, economic development, public safety and state government. All budget and tax bills must be out of conference committees by midnight Thursday.
Posted at 1:09 PM on May 4, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Politico is reporting that Republicans in Washington are willing to back Republican Norm Coleman to take his case to federal court if the Minnesota Supreme Court doesn't back him:
With former Sen. Norm Coleman now standing between Democrats and their 60-seat supermajority, the GOP is prepared to back the Republican's appeal to the federal level if even a shred of doubt emerges in the case currently before the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"This makes it pretty darn important," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, of the race following Specter's switch. "I expect they will pursue the appeals until they are exhausted, whenever that may be. ... I would assume if they were unsuccessful in the Minnesota Supreme Court, there may very well be an appeal to the United States Supreme Court."
Posted at 2:04 PM on May 4, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
In case nobody has been hearing those frequent veto threats, Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a letter to the House and Senate tax committee chairs today reiterating his opposition to tax increases.
Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Rep. Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, are currently negotiating a compromise between the Senate and House tax bills. The conference committee report must be completed by midnight Thursday. In his letter to the two chairs, Pawlenty described the tax increases in the bills as "onerous." And he claimed it would "undermine Minnesota's economic recovery."
"It is exceedingly disappointing the House and Senate Democrats have chosen to dramatically increase tax burdens on Minnesota residents at a time when the state economy is suffering from the deepest economic recession in more than 50 years," Pawlenty wrote.
The Senate tax bill would raise more than $2 billion in new revenue to help solve the state's $4.6 billion budget deficit. The House bill would raise $1.5 billion. Most of the money would come through the income tax.
Pawlenty insists the bills would hurt Minnesotans who own businesses and create jobs. He also objects to the proposed elimination of many tax deductions and credits, increases in alcohol and tobacco taxes and a new tax on digital products.
"Both bills include an additional array of objectionable provisions that are too numerous to provide a comprehensive list," Pawlenty wrote.