Posted at 7:40 AM on February 4, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Lawmakers will release their bonding bill proposals today.
A fix to General Assistance Medical Care, a low-income program for the poor, is also on the agenda this session.
There's also a GAMC rally scheduled for today.
Small hospitals and a physician group oppose the GAMC extension bill.
Gov. Pawlenty and legislative leaders will speak at the MN Chamber of Commerce's annual session priorities dinner tonight.
Gov. Pawlenty was on MPR's Midday on Wednesday. He said he'll try not to cut spending to schools.
The Star Tribune blows up Pawlenty's comments on the Vikings stadium (front page, really?). He suggested that lottery proceeds and users fees to pay for a new Vikings stadium.
The state prepares to borrow cash, just in case.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher used Pawlenty's own signature line against him because of the borrowing plan.
MPR might sue over Central Corridor.
DFL Rep. Cy Thao has to pay the state back $4700 for a several campaign finance violations.
DFL Sen. Keith Langseth says he'll run again.
The state's nurses union isn't happy with the Minnesota Board of Nursing's effort to clarify what an LPN can and cant do for patients.
Gov. Pawlenty will hold the deer hunting opener in Little Falls just three days after his successor is elected.
Questions about overtime pay for troops catches the Defense Secretary off guard.
GOP Rep. John Kline and DFL Rep. Tim Walz press for answers.
KSTP first reported this story on Tuesday night.
President Obama tells Senate Democrats they still have to lead.
Obama's budget faces a congressional minefield.
Congress looks at ways to dull the effects of the Citizen's United case.
Democrats try to tag Republicans like GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen to the AIG bonuses.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum wants all budget options on the table.
There's more turnover in GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's office.
The National Prayer Breakfast is today. Bachmann is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says he'll fight EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
New biofuels regulations could also face a fight from Capitol Hill.
A phone outage in northeast Minnesota reveals potential dangers. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
Oberstar also recommended ways to cut the budget.
2010 Race for Governor
The focus is now on the delegates.
GOP Rep. Marty Seifert discusses the future of his campaign and his straw poll win.
GOP Rep. Tom Emmer says he'll shine in the next phase of the governor's race.
Education Minnesota will meet on Monday to discuss a possible endorsement.
Pawlenty for Prez Fundraiser
Mitt Romney will hold a fundraiser for John Thune.
Frum Forum examines Pawlenty's fundraising surge.
This Californian web ad (known as demonsheep) is, shall we say, odd.
You'll notice if you visit the Secretary of State's page dedicated to the DFL straw poll from Tuesday night's caucuses that roughly 17 percent of the votes haven't been reported.
Well, we wondered what was taking so long.
we asked the Secretary of State's office. An official with the Secretary of State's office says it was the DFL Party's responsibility to collect, count and submit the vote totals to their office.
Kristin Sosanie with the DFL Party told me yesterday afternoon that they're aware of the problem. She said that some local party officials haven't reported their vote totals yet and DFL Party officials are working to get the votes tallied. Sosanie said the other factor is that the vote totals have been submitted but weren't collated for each precinct.
For example, if there were six or seven precinct caucuses going on in the same building, the local party official may have collected the entire number of votes and phoned them in but didn't specify each precinct. That means all of the votes are in from that county but they aren't specifically tied to one precinct.
The outcome is unlikely to make too big a difference in the final results. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and MN House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher finished in the top two. Uncommitted finished third.
Posted at 9:18 AM on February 4, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: MN Legislature
Today is the start of the 2010 legislative session. MPR's Midday will be broadcasting from the State Capitol today and will feature a number of legislative leaders, members of the Pawlenty Administration and others. Tune in at 11am to get your legislative fix.
Gov. Pawlenty announced today that he's headed to Las Vegas, Nevada in late February. Pawlenty said on his Facebook page that he'll be headlining a Nevada GOP dinner on February 27th:
Governor Pawlenty will defy President Obama's orders and go to Vegas on February 27 for the Nevada GOP dinner. Goal is to replace Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with a Senator who values the needs of Nevadans more than the partisan interests of his political party.
Pawlenty will have a busy end of the month.
One day before he speaks in Nevada, he'll be speaking to GOP activists in Missouri.
He's also scheduled to speak to CPAC on Friday, February 19th (he has a reception scheduled the night before his speech) and will attend the National Governors Association's Winter Meetings between February 20-22.
Posted at 12:53 PM on February 4, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
Opening day of the 2010 Legislative session included one lawmaker making an apology on the House floor.
Rep. Paul Gardner, DFL-Shorview, ruffled some feathers last session when he made Twitter comments about two GOP legislators. The offended Republicans filed an ethics complaint. Gardner offered personal apologies last spring. He did it again today before the full House.
"In May of last year I made some unkind, disrespectful remarks about two of my colleagues on the social networking tool Twitter," Garnder said. "And I would like to apologize to them today, and thank you for your attention."
Posted at 1:29 PM on February 4, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2010
State Auditor Rebecca Otto, a Democrat, is criticizing two of her GOP opponents over something pretty important to the job - math.
In a news release, Otto's campaign said two of the four GOP candidates for State Auditor made mistakes on their campaign finance reports:
Candidates Pat Anderson and Randy Gilbert have filed reports that don't add up.
Pat Anderson's gubernatorial report misstates her ending cash balance.
The reporting form instructs candidates to subtract the total
campaign expenses of $26,420.99 from total receipts of $29,659.00.
Pat Anderson says that number is $3,584.66, but actually doing the
math gives a different number: $3,238.01.
Randy Gilbert's state auditor report misstates his total expenditures,
saying that $6,699.08 plus $30 equals $6,713.08. The correct answer
The State Auditor is responsible for oveseeing roughly $20 billion in spending by local units of government.
Anderson served as State Auditor between 2003 and 2007. Otto defeated her in the 2006 election.
I'm seeking comments from Anderson
and Gilbert and will post one when I get it.
Update: Randy Gilbert sent along this statement:
"Our amendment has already been filed. We did not have the software this year, so we completed our forms on excel. This was a simple transferring error."
Posted at 1:55 PM on February 4, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
DFL leaders in the Minnesota House And Senate held a State Capitol news conference today, just before the start of the 2010 session.
Most of discussion was focused on their $1 billion borrowing proposal for public works construction projects. The Senate plans to vote on the bonding bill Monday. A House vote will come a week later.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, chair of the House Capital Investment Finance Division, said quick action will provide needed construction jobs throughout the state. She said a a big bonding bill is also a better value.
"So the one bright spot in a bad economy, low interest rates, low bids coming in, means this month if we move quickly on this bill the taxpayer dollar goes further," Hausman said. "We can get more for our money if we do it now."
House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove said he was disappointed with the proposal, especially the omission of $89 million to expand the Moose Lake sex offender facility.
"I think that's a gross miss," Zellers said. "That is an absolute public safety need."
Two days after a poor showing in a DFL straw poll, former state senator Steve Kelley has ended his campaign for governor.
Kelley came in near the back of the pack in the nonbinding straw poll. Just over 4 percent of DFL precinct caucus goers picked him as their candidate for governor.
Kelley ran for governor in 2006, losing the DFL endorsement to Mike Hatch.
Here's his news release:
Steve Kelley, who formally announced his run for Governor in October, 2009, has decided to end his campaign.
The full text of his email to supporters is as follows:
Thank you for being part of my campaign to transform Minnesota. I have been continually grateful for your words of encouragement, your advice, volunteer work and financial support over the last year. I am one of the fortunate Minnesotans who has had the opportunity to see firsthand the spirit of involvement that thrives in our state.
Even with your support, and the amazingly hard work of a dedicated and talented campaign team, I have not been as successful as we had hoped when the campaign began. As a result, I have decided to withdraw from the race for governor.
My wife Sophie has been a perfect partner in this campaign and in my public service. Our children Paul and Eleanor and our son-in-law Corey Orehek have worked hard and inspired me to work hard for them and for the future. And my parents and brothers and sisters have given me their support in ways beyond measure.
You have been generous in your support. One of the sad outcomes of this decision is that I will have fewer opportunities to work with you to make Minnesota the kind of place we see in our best dreams. I intend to return to my work at the Humphrey Institute where I have been privileged to be able to serve Minnesota.
I also intend to support the DFL-endorsed candidate for governor. To repair the damage done to our state, we must endorse a candidate in April, unite behind that candidate and win in November. Our fellow citizens deserve a DFL Governor in January 2011.
During the campaign I had the pleasure of getting to know better the other dedicated public servants who are seeking the DFL nomination. Through innumerable candidate forums and other visits with Minnesotans, I learned new insights from them about the challenges we face together and the solutions we must pursue.
I am immensely proud of my campaign team. Over many months they applied energy, intelligence and dedication to a challenging goal. It is has been a privilege to work with them.
I am confident that with the right leadership that engages the amazing Minnesotans that I met on the campaign trail, we can build a better home for our children.
Kelley served in the Minnesota Legislature from 1992 to 2006. He is currently a teacher and senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute and the director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy.
Gov. Pawlenty gave a 25 minute speech to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce today. It was mostly standard fare - cut government spending, no tax increases and improve the state's education system.
Pawlenty's only interesting comments were in the direction of the World's #1 golfer, Tiger Woods. Woods, who has engaged in some questionable transgressions, was the butt of several jokes.
First, Pawlenty was joking about all of the different cell phone plans available.
"There's the friends and no family plan for MN Chamber President David Olson. There's the 'No Roaming plan for Tiger Woods and there's the unlimited talking plan for Joe Biden."
Pawlenty later decried government spending saying "It's like Tiger Woods' wife, we should take a nine iron to the back windshield of big government spending and smash it out." Listen
(Update: Anyone notice Pawlenty has adopted an unusual southern drawl over the past few months?)
Thoughts on the comments?
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller said tonight that the stadium issue won't get done if Gov. Pawlenty doesn't take the lead on the issue.
During a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce dinner, Kelliher, Pogemiller, GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem were asked by KSTP's Tom Hauser: "Will the Legislature take up this issue without the governor first putting a plan on the table."
Here are the responses: Listen
Kelliher: "I think it's impossible to do this issue without having leadership from the top, from the governor's office and I have seen a number of these different issues come forward so I think it needs leadership from the top."
Zellers: "It's a possibility, we're not going to close the door, but a check from the state of Minnesota to the Minnesota Vikings isn't going to happen. It has to be creative. We have to balance the budget first. We have to get the economy growing again and then we can talk about stadiums."
Senjem: "We're working on it. There are ideas out there. The lottery is an idea. Racino is out there. There's ideas. We can make this happen. It's going to take good people coming together and putting this package together. There's not one of us who wants to see the Vikings go. We just have to do it and we will."
Pogemiller: "If the governor leads and he proposes he will find a partner in me in the state Senate. It's a difficult issue because it's simply not as important as education and health care but we can perhaps multi-task if the governor will lead on it."