Posted at 7:06 AM on March 8, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Gov. Pawlenty and DFL legislative leaders agreed to fix General Assistance Medical Care. The plan costs significantly less than the current program but lawmakers are hoping hospitals and others pick up more of the tab. MPR, the Pi Press, the Star Tribune and AP have stories.
The DFL plan for a budget fix are starting to emerge.
A vote is expected this week on a revamped bonding bill.
Gov. Pawlenty and the Legislature are getting poor marks in a most recent poll.
For those wondering, Pawlenty's poll numbers are at an all-time low.
No new charter schools may open this year.
The Legislative Auditor finds the DNR lags in upkeep.
Lawmakers are considering a deposit fee on beverages.
The Minnesota House is ready to vote on an absentee ballot bill.
The U of M president is proposing unpaid furloughs to cut costs.
Turnout is heavy in the Iraqi elections.
Pakistan arrested an America born Al Qaeda leader.
Iran's president calls the September 11th attacks "a big lie."
The Senate reportedly has the votes to pass health care reform through reconciliation.
Obama is telling skeptical Democrats to trust him on health care reform.
He's now calling for an up or down vote on health care.
Obama is also proposing relocation aid for homeowners who are under water in their mortgages.
President Obama also wants a top Army intel officer to head the TSA.
A Democratic Congressman from New York will resign today amid an ethics investigation.
A New York Times analysis finds that government contracts are going to companies that are defying the nation's policies on Iran.
Minority owned firms are receiving fewer stimulus contracts.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will speak at Virginia's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.
The two, along with DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, are also urging FEMA to prepare for Red River flooding.
2010 Race for Governor
The state's teacher union declined to back a gov candidate at its most recent PAC board meeting. Will they endorse before the convention in April?
The Star Tribune looks at the lawmakers who are running for governor.
2010 Race for the Legislature
Jeremiah Ellis gets DFL party backing in 65A (Cy Thao's seat).
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty campaigned in Dallas, TX on Saturday.
April is 2012 month in Minnesota. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee will all visit Minnesota at that time.
Romney criticized Obama for focusing on health care instead of jobs.
A poll shows Romney leading the GOP candidates in California.
RIP Darcy Pohland.
Republican Marty Seifert criticized his top contender for the Republican endorsement for governor on campaign finance bill. Seifert is criticizing Tom Emmer for sponsoring a bill that would have restricted political contributions. He's referencing a bill Emmer supported during the 2005-2006 legislative session. In a news release, he said Emmer's bill would have restricted free speech.
That bill (HF2116) would have imposed new limits on political contributions to party units, 527s, PACs and independent expenditures:
Contribution limits; political party units; political committees, political funds. Puts a $1,000 per year aggregate limit on contributions to political committees and political funds .
Puts a $500 per year aggregate limit on contributions to political party units.
Requires any of these entities that receive excess contributions during a year to return the excess to the donor to give it to the board to deposit in the state general fund by January 31 of the year after the contribution is received.
"While I agree that transparency is a critical component in financial disclosure for political contributions, I strongly disagree that we need severe caps, further limiting free speech," Seifert said in a news release. "Doing so will create a permanent Democratic majority in the Minnesota Legislature." The news release also said Emmer's bill would have been more restrictive than the federal McCain-Feingold law.
Seifert also used Emmer's own words against him by quoting him in a 2005 news release on why the bill is important:
"Independent expenditures are often the most negative and offensive campaign activity," Emmer said. "Limiting them would go along way to making our campaigns cleaner and more positive."
The bill never became law. It's also a moot point now since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that businesses and unions can spend an unlimited amount of money on independent expenditures.
I'll update the blog post when I get a comment from Emmer or his campaign.
Emmer said he stands by the bill and stressed that the current law "already stifled freedom of speech.". He said he introduced it because Matt Entenza, who is now a DFL candidate for governor, sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to an independent group (527) that then spent the money on Minnesota House races in 2004. Emmer said he was concerned that people were "buying elections" and yet the state bans corporate expenditures.
"Under the rules of the game then, we were trying to do something with independent expenditures. Two things though, one, the environment has changed. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, in light of what we're doing now, we don't have the same concerns because we are moving toward a direction where always should have been which is freedom. Let people decide elections, don't let government rules decide the outcomes."
Emmer stressed that he doesn't support limits at all...
Republican Tom Emmer announced that state Reps. Mary Kiffmeyer and Tony Cornish are backing his campaign for governor:
"I served as a statewide elected official and I know Tom Emmer has the strength of character to make the right decisions for our families," said Kiffmeyer in a news release. "We need Tom's energy and passion at the top of our ticket this fall."
"Tom is a team player and has been an important part of the House Republican Caucus strategy of showing the citizens of Minnesota there is a better way to govern our state," added Rep. Cornish in the news release.
The race to see who wins GOP backing in the campaign for governor is heating up. Earlier, we reported that Rep. Marty Seifert criticized Rep. Tom Emmer for authoring a bill that would have placed limits on independent expenditures, 527s and PACs (I updated that blog post with Emmer's comments on it). Seifert also lobbed another criticism of Emmer during an interview on Emmer's 2005 bill. He raised the issue of Emmer's temperament.
When discussing the bill, Seifert pointed to a 2005 City Pages article that quoted Emmer criticizing Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life for opposing the proposed limits:
Initially, Emmer was optimistic that the bill would be passed, but once it got to the floor, support suddenly dissipated. Various interest groups, most notably Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, stepped up their attacks on the measure. The anti-choice nonprofit group passed out literature condemning the bill and told house members that the vote would be counted in the organization's influential legislative scorecards, even though the issue has nothing to do with abortion.
"What a crock of crap that is," says Emmer, who is pro-life and was endorsed by the MCCL in 2004. He's now disgusted by the group's high-handed tactics: "I've told them to knock it off. I don't ever want to hear from them again. I don't appreciate people passing me notes while I'm in committee telling me how to vote."
Seifert said Emmer's quote in that article shows that Emmer doesn't have the temperament to be governor.
"The delegates need to know what they're getting," Seifert said. "Right now, they're coming in and getting a good speech for five minutes and the people leave the room and they have no idea about what happens in terms of these other issues like legislation sponsored, etc. I think they need to know if someone needs to come in and wows you with fire breathing, that may be enough but I think people need to know the whole story."
The criticism is a double whammy for Seifert. First, it raises the issue that Emmer supported limits on campaign spending that are opposed by many conservatives. (Emmer now says he doesn't support any limits on campaign spending but was trying to clear up the state's campaign finance laws at the time). Secondly, it puts Emmer at odds with the MCCL, a group that has considerable influence over Republican activists.
For his part, Emmer criticized Seifert for even bringing up a bill he authored in 2005. He said GOP delegates and the rest of the public are more concerned about bread and butter issues. He said Seifert is worried that Emmer has the momentum in the campaign.
"Somebody is raising a bill from 2005 on campaign practices when the real issues that people are talking about are what? They're talking about jobs. They're talking about the future," Emmer said. "They're talking about their families. This is a desperate attempt to create some kind of conflict."
Republicans will meet on April 30th to back a candidate for governor. Both Seifert and Emmer say they'll drop out of the race if they don't win the party endorsement.
GOP state Rep. Peggy Scott and GOP state Sen. Amy Koch introduced legislation that would allow taxpayers to mark a box on their tax return and dedicate an amount to a fund "for Minnesotans who think they are not taxed enough."
"There are many voices on the left calling for higher taxes," Scott said in a news release. "They say they are willing to pay more, so I want to give them that opportunity,"
Scott says other states including Arkansas and Virginia have set up such funds. She said Arkansas gathered $2,077 in contributions from 56 taxpayers between 2001 and 2005.