A meeting leads the Digest today.
Gov. Pawlenty and DFL legislative leaders will meet for the first time in 155 days this morning. The group will meet at the governor's residence to discuss the upcoming legislative session.
The meeting comes one day after the State Economist told lawmakers that the state faces a fiscal trap.
Flood watchers aim to improve forecasting.
The LCCMR approves 48 projects.
Minnesota hospitals have revised their visiting policies due to H1N1.
The Moose Lake Sex Offender Treatment Center has some new, large TVs that even the residents say aren't necessary.
Gang Strike Force claims stack up.
The Pawlenty Administration says its state funding recommendation for broadband is not a public document.
Support for the public option surges in a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The leader of Afghanistan is said to accept a runoff in that nation's election for president.
Iran says nuclear talks won't stop their nuclear enrichment plans.
The government unveils new mortgage help.
The feds say they won't arrest patients who use marijuana to treat their pain.
The White House also unveils its strategy regarding Sudan.
DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken will attend a news conference today urging quick passage of the extension of unemployment benefits.
Klobuchar wants the Senate Majority Leader to give special consideration to legislation that would reduce the nation's debt.
DFL Sen. Al Franken is still working to pay off his recount debt.
The New York Times says Franken is in the "probably yes" camp when it comes to the Climate Change vote.
Paulsen called the tax "wrong headed" but Senate Finance Chair doesn't back down on the tax.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison joined the US Congressional Caucus on US-Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann says she supports a plan to send pink slips to members of Congress.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson's Ag Committee will mark up his financial derivatives bill on Wednesday. His fellow Blue Dogs have said little about legislation regulating the financial system.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Sarah Palin will visit Wisconsin.
2010 Race for Governor
The Star Tribune says Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak broke some of his "self-imposed rules on political money that were a centerpiece of his maiden 2001 campaign."
The Republican candidates for governor will meet in a speed-dating forum tonight. DFLers speed-date tomorrow. Info here.
Former DFL state Sen. Steve Kelley officially kicked off his campaign for governor. Kelley, who abided by the endorsement during his gov run in 2006, won't commit to abiding by the endorsement this year. AP, the Pi Press, MPR and the Star Tribune have stories.
You can listen to Kelley's announcement here.
The I-P is looking for its next Ventura.
2010 Race for Congress
DFL state Sen. Terri Bonoff said she's open to another run for Congress in Minnesota's 3rd District.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz has the highest percentage of contributions from in-state donors. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison has the lowest.
Posted at 11:41 AM on October 20, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
The Republican governor hosted a breakfast meeting today with key Democrats to begin discussing next year's session. Much of the focus will be on a bonding bill that pays for a wide variety of public construction projects. Pawlenty expects that borrowing measure will be no larger than $800 million. He also wants to see tax credits and other financial incentives aimed at helping businesses create new jobs.
"From our standpoint we just can't have an economy based on building government stuff and government programs. There has to be incentives and a better environment and competitive environment here for private sector investment in job growth."
Pawlenty and DFL leaders also discussed ways to mitigate the impact from the governor's decision to eliminate a state-subsidized health care program. More than 30,000 adults are scheduled to lose coverage.
Another topic was the state's longterm financial health. DFL leaders want action to head off an anticipated budget deficit in the next two-year budget cycle. Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, said he offered a hand of cooperation.
"It's unclear whether the governor will take us up on that," Pogemiller said. "I think there's a real strong concern that the ship of state is headed toward an iceberg here. And we're hoping that the governor takes us up on our offer to eat away at the significant budget deficit of $5 billion to $7 billion."
Posted at 12:25 PM on October 20, 2009
by Tom Scheck
DFL Congresswoman Betty McCollum is backing former state Sen. Steve Kelley for governor. In a letter to supporters, McCollum wrote that Kelley is the best equipped to win the job. Here's a portion of the letter she sent to DFL activists.
Minnesota needs a Governor who will work with our Congressional delegation to solve the great issues of our time. Steve is one of the most effective collaborative leaders I've ever known. While he was in the Legislature, he worked to get doctors and trial lawyers to agree on a life-saving bill to report medical mistakes, which has helped to keep MN healthy. Steve believes that President Obama and Congress need a Governor who can make sure that all Minnesotans get access to quality, affordable health care.
As a DFLer, I believe Steve would be the candidate who can finally reverse the decades long trend of losing the Governor's race. Steve is the right candidate at the right time to take back the governor's office for the DFL. He combines solid policy credentials, sound decision-making, and a unique, proven ability to win independent and moderate voters. Steve is the candidate that DFLers have been waiting for to take back the governor's office in 2010.
McCollum is the second DFL member of Minnesota's Congressional delegation to back a candidate for governor. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison raised money and announced he was backing former state Rep. Matt Entenza for the job.
McCollum's backing comes one day after Kelley officially launched his bid for governor. He ran in 2006 but lost the DFL endorsement to then Attorney General Mike Hatch. Kelley says he hasn't decided if he'll abide by the DFL endorsement this time around.
Posted at 2:54 PM on October 20, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Three of the DFL candidates for governor sent updates to supporters today. State Sen. Tom Bakk, state Rep. Tom Rukavina and state Rep. Paul Thissen all focused on different topics.
Bakk focused on fixing the state's budget situation:
I know there are no simple solutions to the state's financial problems. The state's budget deficit is a symptom of a larger problem - our economy is underperforming.
There are not enough taxes we can raise or spending we can cut to address the next state budget deficit. Until we get people back to work, Minnesota will not have the resources needed to invest in the things we value most, namely education and health care.
As a candidate for governor, I will continue to press for an honest conversation with citizens about what kind of Minnesota you want and then work with you to take the steps needed to grow our economy and create opportunities to improve our quality of life.
Rukavina focused on education:
This state and this country became leaders when we started pushing universal education and stressed the importance of educating as many people as possible to the highest levels they could achieve. Now Minnesota is falling behind other states and the U.S. behind other countries in our education because somewhere along the way we took our quality for granted and decided it wasn't worth more investment. In just the last month the U.S. lost 29,000 jobs in local education- 10% of all the jobs lost in the country! Since the beginning of the summer 150,000 education jobs have vanished. Those jobs may not all be critical, but they signal the loss of quality in OUR most important job: preparing our children to be our future.
How do we return to Minnesota's rightful place as a national leader in quality, cost-effective education? First we need to start appreciating what our teachers do and give them what they need - reasonable class sizes and materials and resources to do the job. Then we need to get out of the way. We have dedicated so much of our time and money to criticism and "reform" that we haven't supported what teachers and students can do. Let's support our teachers and schools, remove the testing requirements that are not effective, eliminate the time-consuming, unproductive mandates, and invest resources for our students and teachers in the classrooms across Minnesota.
In higher education, we need to give students and families better options for financing their education. When I was in college I could work my way through school at minimum wage working about 15 hours a week. Students now would need to work over 60 hours a week to pay their way. A program that would give students the option to work as tutors, mentors, or advisors to other students; assistants to faculty in exchange for college credits; or, alternatively, a state service program along the lines of AmeriCorps in which students could have loans forgiven after college through community service would allow a new generation to work their way through or embark upon their adult life with little debt.
Thissen focused on how hard he's working:
In addition to these large events, I've been spending a lot of time meeting in smaller settings with Minnesotans. Last week, we were in Bricelyn, a town about a half-mile from the Iowa border, and Oakdale, just to name a few.
This week, we'll be in Blooming Prairie, Nisswa, North Branch, and Farmington. The days can get a little long, but they are always incredibly energizing. Last month, we filmed a typical day from start to finish. Our video, "A Day on the Road" follows us through 300 miles and 15 hours in central Minnesota, and relates well to the City Pages article.
But we aren't easing up, either. Our volunteers are motivated and ready to get to work and we're eager for them to. Our campaign is focused and already showing Minnesotans that I am the DFL candidate who can win next November and will move our state forward.