Gov. Pawlenty and DFL legislative leaders met behind closed doors at the Governor's Residence yesterday to discuss the upcoming legislative session. There may be a glimmer of hope for the nearly thirty thousand people who are scheduled to lose health care coverage as a result of Pawlenty's line-item veto.
Pawlenty also said he's pulling the plug on the pricey TVs at Moose Lake's Treatment Center.
Minnesota Workforce centers say more funding is needed.
A Minnesota water group will look at environmental pollution.
Six Islamic clerics who were thrown off a plane settled their lawsuit with the MAC and U.S. Airways.
An ex-DHS employee was sentenced for health care fraud.
House Democrats are introduced a health care bill that includes the public option and reduces the deficit. The CBO says the price-tag is $871 billion over ten years.
DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken want to extend unemployment benefits.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Klobuchar and the other female senators.
Franken backs a measure that would help those with high medical debt.
GOP Rep. John Kline is seeking a hearing on the Labor Relations Board nominee.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann dismisses talk of a potential run for president.
2010 Race for governor
The DFL candidates will meet in a forum in Rochester tonight.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum backs Steve Kelley for governor.
2010 Race for Congress
Stu Rothenberg said the DCCC is targeting Bachmann but it will be a tough year for Democrats.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Mitt Romney insists he hasn't made a decision about 2012.
Romney may be bypassing Iowa in 2012?
Marc Ambinder speculates that Pawlenty might skip it.
Oprah will interview Sarah Palin.
Go Phils. Win another World Series for Grandma!
Posted at 9:05 AM on October 21, 2009
by Tom Scheck
A bipartisan group of thirty members of the Minnesota House are banding together to create the Small Business Caucus. The goal is to find ways to improve Minnesota's small business community. DFL Rep. Maria Ruud of Minnetonka is co-chairing the Caucus with DFL Rep. Denise Dittrich of Champlin. Ruud described why the caucus was created:
"The goal is to create policies that may make Minnesota more competitive in small business start-up, sustainability and growth. One goal is to come up with at least one policy proposal we can introduce and hopefully pass this session. We also hope to educate legislators as to the unique concerns of small business, increase our awareness about available resources and be more effective at communicating them to small business owners or interested individuals."
The Small Business Caucus includes 22 DFLers and eight Republicans.
Update: Here's a list of the members:
Democrats: Denise Dittrich, Maria Ruud, Kathy Bynaert, Julie Bunn, Lyndon Carlson, Patti Fritz, Paul Gardner, Melissa Hortman, Gail Kulick-Jackson, Diane Loeffler, Sandy Masin, Joe Mullery, Erin Murphy, Kim Norton, Mike Obermueller, Roger Reinert, Paul Rosenthal, Bev Scalze, Nora Slawik, Marsha Swails, Cy Thao and Andy Welti.
Republicans: Sarah Anderson, Mike Beard, Keith Downey, Mary Liz Holberg, Tim Kelly, Carol McFarlane, Ron Shimanski and Dean Urdahl.
Update: Here's the news release that just went out.
Posted at 11:46 AM on October 21, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Gov. Pawlenty sent a letter to 49 other governors asking them to form an Interstate Health Insurance Compact to tackle health care reform. In his letter, Pawlenty referenced the health care initiatives he announced last week. One of the proposals is an Interstate Health Insurance Compact, which would allow participating states to create common regulatory standards so states can buy health insurance across state lines.
Pawlenty wants Minnesota to be the first state in the nation to allow the purchase of medical insurance plans from other states. Some critics say they're concerned that allowing individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines will loosen consumer protection. The Interstate Health Insurance Compact will need approval from Congress.
Pawlenty, a possible candidate for the White House in 2012, has been highly critical of President Obama's health care plan. This is obviously his effort to counter that proposal with one of his own.
Posted at 3:31 PM on October 21, 2009
by Tom Scheck
MPR's Tim Pugmire has a good look at how some labor unions are moving quickly to back a candidate for governor.
Two unions have already backed a candidate. Teamsters 120 already backed Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who hasn't even officially announced he's running for governor yet. The Minnesota Nurses Association backed DFL state Rep. Paul Thissen earlier this month. Update: A reader says the Carpenters Union is supporting one of their members running for governor, Senator Tom Bakk.
AFSCME will conduct its screening this weekend. Education Minnesota already screened candidates but hasn't endorsed.
At least one union, SEIU, is taking its time. An official with that union said they won't back a candidate until next year.
Posted at 3:43 PM on October 21, 2009
by Tom Scheck
The website for Gov. Pawlenty's federal political action committee, Freedom First, is about to get an upgrade.
"The Freedom First PAC currently has a web presence that serves as a placeholder for a more comprehensive and robust web platform outlined in this RFP," says a Request for Proposal that went out this morning.
The RFP asks developers to do everything a political website should do.
There's a request for processing donations through PayPal and credit cards. There's a request for social media applications and create online petitions and send messages to elected officials. There's even a request to create an online store where supporters can buy branded merchandise (a la the Mitt Romney fleece).
The RFP is a bit ambitious since there's a request to send out "hundreds of thousands of e-mail messages per week." It also asks for a complete biography of the team members that will work on the website.
The RFP says proposals are due on November 4, 2009 with a selection expected on November 18, 2009. The RFP wants the website to be active by January 4, 2009. Vendors are expected to work with the website through December 31, 2010.
No word on what would happen to the site after that date. Pawlenty has not ruled out a possible run for the White House in 2012 and it's clear that building a national organization will help him should he decide to make a run for the White House.