Posted at 6:30 AM on March 15, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Minnesota Supreme Court holds oral arguments today in the case that challenges Gov. Pawlenty's decision to unilaterally cut spending to balance the state's budget. MPR and AP have setup stories on what a ruling could mean for the state's budget situation.
The Star Tribune profiles Galen Robinson, the legal aid attorney who is taking on Pawlenty.
MPR News will provide live coverage of the hearing at 9am.
Gov. Pawlenty, who was in Florida over the weekend and has a Florida fundraiser scheduled for tonight, has to act on the bonding bill by midnight tonight or all of $1 billion worth of projects become law.
MPR says 44 of the 47 Republicans in the Minnesota House sent a letter to Pawlenty urging him to line item veto the bill to $250 million. Two Republicans, Mark Buesgens and gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer, sent a separate letter urging him to veto the bill entirely. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead didn't sign either letter. Here is the link to the letters.
A House committee approved a bill that would cut $207 million in state spending.
Reinventing care for the poor means relying less on the Emergency Room.
MPR says 55 of the 374 people who were issued handgun permits eventually received the permit through appeal.
The state's teacher's union is the lone opponent to a bill that changes pension requirements.
The Pi Press says tough times have prompted an increase in the number of thefts among local government officials.
Small town officials are worried about cuts in LGA.
The House passed a bill that makes changes to election laws.
A bill aims to protect pets in domestic disputes.
Legislation would reinstate bounties on coyotes.
A current state lawmaker and a former state lawmaker defend the state's moratorium on nuclear construction in an op-ed.
A panel in the Minnesota House passed a bill that tightens the law on civil asset forfeitures.
The school year will start before Labor Day in southwest Minnesota.
Census forms should start arriving in mailboxes today.
The Pi Press says same sex couples are glad to be counted.
The White House is predicting the health care overhaul bill will become law by next week.
The Duluth News Tribune says DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar will vote for the health bill.
But there are reports that Democrats are still short of the votes.
Bart Stupak, the Democrat pushing for tougher anti-abortion language in the bill, said Democratic leaders are pressing ahead without him.
A group representing Catholic hospitals supports the bill.
The New York Times says President Obama will face a vastly different political landscape after the health vote.
MPR fact-checks the new ads targeting the health bill.
The president is also reportedly "livid" about the announcement of new settlements in Israel.
Obama nominates a young, liberal law professor for the Appeals Court.
The president also wants to overhaul No Child Left Behind.
Obama also gave his Nobel money to charity.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd says he'll release a financial overhaul bill today.
Lehman Brothers is reportedly using accounting tricks to get $50 billion of troubled assets off their books.
DFL Sen. Al Franken will headline Netroots Nation this year.
Republicans in the House will oppose all earmarks. GOP Rep. John Kline is pleased.
USA Today says election year boosts law making. Kline is mentioned.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen will attend a news conference this week that pushes for safer truck stops.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says President Obama should stop trying to appease his detractors. He made the comments after members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Obama.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will hold a press conference this morning in Stillwater to discuss the Stillwater Bridge.
2010 Race for Governor
Howard Dean backs R.T. Rybak's campaign for governor.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer backs John Marty for governor.
Republican Marty Seifert seeks to undo the state's renewable energy mandate. Seifert voted for the bill initially.
Seifert and Tom Emmer squared off in a debate on Friday.
2010 Race for Congress
A former DFL lawmaker turned independent challenges DFL Rep. Collin Peterson.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
A Rasmussen Poll of Minnesota voters finds 38% would support a Pawlenty run for president. Here's a link to the poll.
Politico polls Tea Parties about the 2012 candidates. Pawlenty gets a 6.5 out of 10.
Mitt Romney spoke at the California GOP Convention.
John Thune is hitting the campaign trail.
The New York Times profiles Newt Gingrich.
Mike Huckabee says he isn't sure if he'll run in 2012.
The Minnesota Republican Party announced today that it will hold a rally on April 7th in downtown Minneapolis. It will feature former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann. Here are the details:
St. Paul- Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton and Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb today announced that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will appear at an April 7, 2010 rally with Representative Michele Bachmann at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The rally will be free and open to the public. Details on how to obtain tickets will be forthcoming from the Republican Party of Minnesota.
"The Republican Party of Minnesota is thrilled to be hosting this one of a kind rally with Governor Sarah Palin and Representative Michele Bachmann. Governor Palin and Representative Bachmann are two of the most dynamic and impressive conservative leaders in the nation. This exciting event will be a great way for Minnesotans to get involved in what promises to be a terrific year for Republicans," said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton.
"For the millions of Minnesotans who have had enough of the out of control spending and tax increases coming out of Washington, this is one event they will absolutely not want to miss. Governor Palin and Representative Bachmann will make sure everyone is fired up and ready to go for November," said Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb.
Please visit www.mngop.com for updates regarding this event.
Gov. Pawlenty announced today that he cut $330 million in projects from the bonding bill. Pawlenty signed the bill into law but line item vetoed more than fifty projects from the bill. In his veto letter, Pawlenty wrote that the bill spent too much and didn't focus on his key priorities. He also said Democrats should work with Republicans if they hope to put forward another bonding bill.
DFL legislative leaders say they have no interest in putting forward another bonding bill. They say Pawlenty's decision to line item veto projects from the bill means fewer construction jobs will be available.
Higher education, most notably the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, took the biggest cut. Funding for the civic center expansions in Mankato, Rochester and St. Cloud was also eliminated.
I'll post the governor's veto letter soon.
Update: Here's the veto letter.
One side note. There has been some confusion surrounding where and when Gov. Pawlenty took action on the bill. I'm told he line item vetoed the bill from his St. Paul office on Sunday night. He is back in Florida today vacationing with his family and speaking at an RGA fundraiser. I'm told no tax dollars paid for his trips (Alex Conant, a spokesman for Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC, says the PAC paid for the trip).
Update: Pawlenty's spokesman, Brian McClung said there was an error in calculating the price tag of the bonding bill. Here's his message:
Our staff double-checked the final bonding number after the Governor's line-item vetoes are factored in and discovered one error. A project that was vetoed was listed in the general obligation (G.O.) bonding category when it should've been in the trunk highway bonding category.
Therefore that project should not have reduced the overall G.O. bonding number.
As a result, the correct G.O. bonding figure, after the impact of the Governor's line-item vetoes, is not $680 million as listed in the line-item veto letter. It is actually $686 million or $1 million more than the Governor's recommendations from January 15.
The Minnesota DFL Party announced today that Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank will speak at this year's Humphrey Day Dinner. Here's a statement from DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez:
"Through almost three decades in Congress, Chair Frank has been an outspoken and fearless advocate for Democratic principles. He has been an energetic advocate for civil rights, and was the second openly gay member of Congress. On the House Financial Services Committee, which he now chairs, he has championed consumer protection and reform of Wall Street. He has worked to provide affordable rental housing for his constituents, and been a strong supporter of health-insurance reform. We look forward to a lively presentation from a principled and spirited leader."
The Humphrey Day Dinner will be held on May 8th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
GOP state Sen. Geoff Michel and GOP state Rep. Keith Downey announced today that they're backing Republican Tom Emmer's bid for governor.
"Tom has a strong and appealing message for suburban voters who are focused on deficits and the economy," said Michel. "Beyond that, I believe the Emmer campaign can pull together a broad spectrum of Minnesotans, from Republicans to Independents and conservative Democrats, to focus on fundamentally reforming state government and making Minnesota an attractive place to raise a family and create jobs."
"I am pleased to endorse Tom Emmer for Governor," said Rep. Downey. "As a new legislator and non-career politician, I have always appreciated Tom's straightforward approach. Minnesotans are looking for someone they can trust to say what he believes and do what he says - Tom is that person. Tom's commitment to common-sense deficit reduction and economic recovery through the private sector is exactly what Minnesota needs right now. We know he will focus on our priorities."
The Emmer campaign says 26 current state lawmakers and Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau are backing Emmer's campaign. Emmer is in a dogfight with Marty Seifert to win the GOP endorsement for governor. Both say they'll drop out of the race if they don't win party backing.