The Minnesota Department of Health has a new flu plan that focuses on prevention not containment.
Minnesota hospitals say they support increasing the tax on health care providers in order to offset potential budget cuts.
One of the bills, the Transportation budget bill, keeps funding stable for roads and transit projects.
Another is the economic development bill, which takes a $21 million cut.
GOP Rep. Pat Garafolo says the Department of Public Safety should not be blocking online gambling.
Gov. Pawlenty heads to Washington D.C. to talk flood relief with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and members of the North Dakota delegation will attend too.
President Obama vows to crack down on overseas tax havens.
Winona's Bishop blasts Notre Dame and Obama.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar clarifies where he stands on the mileage tax.
The Washington Independent reports that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann attends the weekly Ron Paul luncheons on a regular basis.
The Hill says Bachmann is rated as one of the most partisan Republicans in Congress.
MinnPost's David Brauer wonders whether the local media overcovers GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.
MPR says the stimulus means a few extra dollars a month.
2008 Race for U.S. Senate
The Star Tribune speculates on speculation that a Sen. Al Franken could mean a hard-left pick for the Supreme Court.
Politico pops that bubble by saying the pick could come at the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Politico reports that the GOP is fully backing Norm Coleman.
2010 Race for Governor
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison officially backs Matt Entenza for governor, just days after holding a fundraiser for him.
MinnPost looks at the gubernatorial campaigns of Tom Bakk, John Marty and Paul Thissen.
2010 Race for Congress
Liberal in the Land of the Conservative says Maureen Reed, who ran for Lt. Gov. alongside I-P candidate Peter Hutchinson in 2006, will reportedly run as a DFLer and challenge GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's 6th District.
Posted at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Officials with a state workers union say they know how to save Minnesota more than $350 million by eliminating areas of government waste.
But the leaders of the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) say their recommendations have been ignored by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his administration. MAPE Executive Director Jim Monroe says most of the savings could come from uncollected fees and payments that are currently written off by state agencies. But Monroe says the union also wants to streamline what it sees as "bloated" management ranks in state government.
"There's been a large number of management positions appointed in this administration, Monroe said. "A chunk of those have been former legislators that have gone into management positions."
Monore's estimated savings break down as $6.8 million by replacing outsourced electrical inspectors with MAPE electrical inspectors $110 million by streamlining management, and $240 million from capturing uncollected accounts receivable.
And speaking of uncollected money:
The Minnesota House voted today to forgive part of a state loan to the city of St. Paul, which would allow construction of a new community ice facility next to the Xcel Energy Center.
The loan forgiveness language was included in an economic development budget bill that the House passed by a vote of 74 to 57. Under the provision, St. Paul would end up paying debt on its Xcel Energy Center loan for 12 years instead of 20. The city would then use the savings to issue local bonds for the project known as "the Pond." Republicans call it an inappropriate bailout. House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, tried unsuccessfully to send the bill back to conference committee.
"Go back to your coffee shop," Seifert said. "Go back to your hardware store, like I did in Marshall on Sunday afternoon. And ask people if you think this is an opportune time for us to be forgiving over $30 million that's owed to the state of Minnesota from a deal that was struck in the 1990s, when we are $6 billion in the hole."
Seifert is predicting Governor Tim Pawlenty will veto the entire bill over the St. Paul provision.
But Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, defended the loan forgiveness. He said the state should step up.
"We wanted to bring hockey back to the state of Minnesota," Mahoney said. "So, St. Paul agreed to a bad deal. And we're back here asking you to fix that bad deal."
Posted at 4:54 PM on May 5, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has announced Sheila Reger as the new commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration. Reger is currently the department's deputy commissioner. She replaces Dana Badgerow, who resigned to take a job with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.
The governor's office issued this news release:
Saint Paul - Governor Tim Pawlenty today named Sheila Reger commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Administration, effective May 11, 2009. Reger replaces Dana Badgerow who is leaving the agency to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Reger is currently the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administration. She has previously held a number of positions in state government including Deputy Secretary of State and Human Resources Director for the Department of Administration.
"Sheila's solid work at Admin makes her the right person to lead the agency as it continues to make state government more customer-friendly and innovative," Governor Pawlenty said.
As Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Administration, Reger currently manages internal operations including human resources management, continuous improvement initiatives, risk management, fleet and surplus operations, and communications.
Reger earned her Bachelor of Science from St. Cloud State University. She lives in Apple Valley.
"Governor Pawlenty has challenged state government to deliver better customer service and reduce costs," said Reger. "During the Pawlenty Administration we've made significant improvements, thanks in large part to the more than 1,100 state employees who have contributed their time, talent and expertise toward improving state government. I'm looking forward to building on this record of success."
The Department of Administration's 500 employees offer a diverse range of services to state and local government, the education community and citizens. These government services include facilities and maintenance, building construction planning and management, purchasing and procurement, contracting, vehicle leasing, demographic and census data and geographic information technology.