Posted at 7:07 AM on February 24, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Minnesota Senate will try to override Gov. Pawlenty's veto of the GAMC bill on Thursday.
DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller sent a letter to the DHS Commissioner telling him he can't transfer GAMC patients to MinnesotaCare. MinnPost and the Pi Press have stories.
Pawlenty says he didn't sign an NGA letter urging Congress to pass an extension of federal Medicaid money because the letter praised the stimulus.
Lawmakers introduce Racino legislation.
Counties tell the state they can save the state money be accepting more responsibilities.
Some townships are foregoing plowing to save money.
Rochester schools want more flexibility on funding from state.
The state's poor will face more difficulties under Gov. Pawlenty's budget cuts.
A study says Minnesota lags in dental coverage for kids.
A survey of Minnesota manufacturers says they're optimistic.
Minnesota is 17th in stimulus weatherization funds.
The city of Duluth's largest union authorized a strike.
Northstar Commuter Rail ridership is up.
President Obama to meet with business leaders today.
The New York Times says big questions still linger on the eve of President Obama's health care summit. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Republicans should stop complaining about reconciliation on the health care overhaul bill.
A poll shows there is less fear about the health care overhaul.
Kaiser Family Foundation introduces a tool to help breakdown the different health care proposals.
HMOs are feeling the heat from Obama's plan.
Democrats and Republicans say Obama's health summit won't break the logjam on health care.
The CBO says the stimulus added up to 2.1 million jobs in 4th Quarter.
The Navy seeks to end a ban on women sailors in subs.
Advocates seek more federal money for the Great Lakes.
The EPA says the Polymet mine proposal is inadequate.
DFL Sen. Al Franken heard from school leaders in Bemidji.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is one of several House Republicans seeking budget changes to Fannie and Freddie.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson wants to boost exports to Cuba.
The Senate will release a plan to regulate Over the Counter derivatives. Peterson said "I'll lose all faith in Congress" if they don't get the fix done.
The NTSB asks to monitor pilots talk in cockpits.
Oberstar also said the stimulus improved U.S. infrastructure.
2010 Race for Governor
GOP state Sen. David Hann is backing Republican Marty Seifert.
Republican Tom Emmer is forming a search committee to help find his running mate.
The Minnesota Daily profiles Democrat Matt Entenza.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
The Hill notes that Gov. Pawlenty suggested Emergency Room officials should be able to reject patients with minor conditions to cut costs.
The Atlantic Monthly takes a look at how Pawlenty, and others, stand with Tea Partiers.
Pawlenty also appeared on CNN's Larry King Live last night.
Mitt Romney backs John McCain's senate run.
The Democratic National Committee created a web video ripping Gov. Pawlenty and two other Republicans for criticizing the stimulus but accepting the money and praising it later.
Side note: The DNC told me they also intend to call Pawlenty Tea-Paw (instead of the standard TPaw) because they say he's working to court Tea-Party members.
MPR's Mark Zdechlik reports that former U.S. Sen Dean Barkley, who is a member of the Independence Party, is urging Tea Party activists to join the Independence Party.
"The core reasons why we're upset with our government are very similar, so I think if they went to our Web site and looked at our platform they would agree with 95 percent of what we stand for,"
You can read the full story here.
This morning, Republican Tom Emmer announced a slate of state lawmakers (including newly elected GOP state Sen. Mike Parry) who are publicly backing his campaign for governor. One of those members is GOP state Rep. Steve Smith of Mound.
The problem is Emmer's top GOP rival, Marty Seifert, says on his website that he's backing Seifert.
Emmer's campaign manager, David Fitzsimmons, said Smith told them that he was going to back both Emmer and Seifert.
"If Marty is going to use it in his total, we might as well as use it on our ledger too," Fitzsimmons said.
I stopped by Smith's office to clarify but he wasn't there to comment.
Smith called me back with this comment:
"Previously, both gentleman have asked for my name for their campaigns. I said yes to both. I'm running for the delegate to the state convention for my senate disctrict 33. I see both Seifert and Emmer have both endorsed me on their slate of delegates so I'm pleased that they both endorsed me."
When I asked who he backed in the straw poll or will back at the State Party Convention, Smith referred me back to his original comment.
How far apart are DFL legislators and the governor on the bonding bill? Let's look at some of the public statements both sides have made and get out our pencils.
Start with the projects the governor says he wants added to the bill:
Expansion of the Moose Lake sex offender facility-- $89 million
Security improvements at Oak Park Heights prison-- $10 million
Minneapolis Veterans home improvements-- $9.4 million
For a total of -------------------------------------- $108.4 Million
Add that to the approximately $1 billion dollar bill passed by the House and Senate and you get $1.108 billion in total spending requests.
From that, subtract the projects the governor wants out of the bill:
The Potter Center for the Arts -- $5 million
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden -- $2 million
Theodore Wirth winter sports improvements -- $1 millon
Local civic centers-- $63 million
Princeton public safety building -- $2.8 million
For a total of approximately------------------------- $74 million
That leaves a total bonding package of $1.034 billion, or about $34 million more than the current bill.
In comparison the governor's total bonding proposal was $685 million, but he has indicated that he could go as high as about $725 million.
That would leave it to lawmakers to cut about $309 million dollars in projects that have already been voted on by the Legislature.
And here are the most important numbers of all: 81 and 41.
Those are the number of votes it takes to pass a bonding bill in the House and in the Senate. The question is: would there be that many votes for a bill that has $309 million less in construction projects than the one that has already passed?
Proponents of another bonding bill project are accusing Gov. Tim Pawlenty of mischaracterization.
John Munger of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation sent out a press advisory today for an afternoon news conference. Foundation officials planned to explain the Olympic Training Center at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
In the advisory, Munger said the governor wrongly described the project as a snowboarding and a tubing facility. He said this project is about infrastructure for an Olympic Training facility that will be used by the general public and Olympic-level athletes and has nothing to do with tubing and snowboarding. The center is seeking $1 million from the bonding bill.
City officials in Chatfield recently made a similar complaint. They said the governor mischaracterized their bonding bill project, the Potter Center for the Arts, as a pottery facility.
Okay, the Minneapolis project has nothing to do with snowboarding. But in times of misunderstanding, I've often found the ABC's of Snowboarding to be instructive.
In terms of the bonding bill, the airdogs and hoedads need to shred more and bonk less. Just chillax.
Gov. Pawlenty is scheduled to meet with legislative leaders of both parties today to discuss a fix to General Assistance Medical Care and the bonding bill. Those meetings will be behind closed doors, which is a common occurrence on some negotiations.
Why is this interesting? Well, Pawlenty and his spokesman Brian McClung blasted Democrats for negotiating a bonding bill behind closed doors.
Here's what Pawlenty wrote to DFL Rep. Alice Hausman and DFL Sen. Keith Langseth when he was expressing concern about the bill:
"It is my understanding that much of this bill was assembled behind closed doors by some conference committee members and the completed bill was unveiled to the public at approximately 1:00AM this morning. This lack of transparency is unacceptable."
His spokesman Brian McClung went a step further
"This is a 97 page bill that was negotiated by Democrats behind closed doors and only revealed to the public at 1:30AM. That is simply unacceptable. The people of Minnesota expect better." Listen
When I asked McClung whether Pawlenty's meetings with lawmakers would be in private, he e-mailed this response:
"The meetings will be held in the Governor's office with invited legislators and staff. Unlike the behind-closed-door bonding meetings on Sunday, these meetings will be conducted during regular working hours, the attendees will be known to the media and others, and the public discussion would occur immediately afterwards and not at 1:00 a.m."
When I followed up to ask whether the meetings are, in fact, being held behind closed doors, this was his response:
"Invited legislators and staff are welcome."
For those wondering, here's Merriam-Webster's definition of private.