Posted at 6:59 AM on March 17, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The House and Senate plan on making fewer local government aid cuts than Gov. Pawlenty but they are also making cuts.
Republicans in the Senate will hold a news conference today to discuss plans to challenge the federal health care bill.
Veterans programs are dodging the budget-balancing axe.
Magnuson also made the case for cameras in the courts.
Magnuson, who is leaving the court in June, also talked about his future, the U.S. Senate recount and judicial elections. Here's his conversation with reporters.
Speaking of judicial elections... A petition has been filed to force an election of the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice.
A battle begins over the second round of the Race to the Top funding.
MnSCU criticizes Gov. Pawlenty's vetoes in the bonding bill.
The Minnesota Film Board may have to break its word on promised tax breaks.
Two lawmakers push for incandescent light bulbs in a state's rights argument.
A bill bans Minnesota workers from hotels with porn.
A bill proposed in the Legislature would ban smoking in cars when children are present.
The public is split on the health bill.
Democrats and Republicans have sharply different views on a move that could pass the health bill without voting on it.
The lobbying on the health bill reached a fever pitch.
The DNC promises help for House members who vote for the bill.
President Obama says he won't campaign for Democrats who vote no on the health bill.
The Tea Party rallied in Washington D.C. against the health bill.
Bachmann spoke at the rally.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison will hold a tele-townhall meeting on health care on Thursday.
Ellison also ripped Republicans saying, "you'd think they cared" even though "they did nothing" when they were in control.
The Star Tribune breaks down where the delegation stands.
President Obama will appear on Fox News on Wednesday.
President Obama talked with ABC.
The Senate is expected to pass the jobs bill today.
The U.S. and Israel try to heal the worst rift in years.
The Senate rejects a freeze on earmarks.
DFL Sen. Al Franken rips Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning for the filibuster on a Canadian issue.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann says she has serious problems with the census.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar proposed federal borrowing to fill a gap in highway funding.
2010 Race for Governor
The RGA is trying to nationalize the state's gov races.
Education Minnesota explains the delay in backing a candidate.
GOP state Sen. Ray Vandeveer backs Marty Seifert.
Democrat Mark Dayton campaigned in Willmar.
2010 Race for Congress
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is asking supporters to give $10,000 to get in a photo with Sarah Palin.
Bachmann will be in Iowa next month.
The GOP plans a forum in the 4th District race.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Mitt Romney wades into the South Carolina governor's race.
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate are calling on the state's congressional delegation to reject a federal health care reform bill.
They're also asking the state attorney general to file a lawsuit, if the bill passes, to protect Minnesotans from what they see as an unconstitutional measure. Both requests are included in a resolution that Republicans want considered on the Senate floor Thursday. During a news conference today, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said the federal bill would impose an unequal tax and take away the right to not buy health insurance.
"There's also a really great premise in our government," Ortman said."It's the premise of divided government, where the state government has its rights and can control the federal government when it's overreaching. And with the federal health care bill, the federal government is proposing unconstitutional actions."
State Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, also sent a message on health care, specifically a harshly-worded letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Emmer, who's a GOP candidate for governor, told Klobuchar that her job is to represent the citizens of Minnesota.
"If you vote for the health care reform bill you have failed in that job," Emmer wrote. "It is reckless to vote for a bill most of you have yet to read and certainly do not fully understand."
Democrats were quick to respond. Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, said the federal health care bill would provide needed insurance protections to many Minnesotans. She described the GOP constitutional claims as "a bunch of baloney."
"We have a partnership with the federal government in many, many area of health care, and Medicare is one of them," Berglin said. "I don't think that violates the constitution."
Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, pointed out the financial implications of the federal bill.
"At at time of record deficits and unemployment, GOP senators are proposing a plan that would cost Minnesota $3 billion," Huntley said. "This national health care legislation is the beginning of real payment reform that will reduce the cost of health care for every Minnesotan."
The Minnesota Tea Party announced today that the organization won't be backing candidates from either party. Instead, the organization says it wil focus on issues. One side note, many Tea Party activists have been moving through the delegate process in the Republican Party. Here's the release:
Minnesota Tea Party Patriots' Antoinette "Toni No Bologny" Backdahl announced today, "We are not endorsing candidates from any party. We decided to focus on issues and once educated on both sides of the arguments, let the people decide for themselves", said Mrs. Backdahl.
Many people have been asking what the Tea Party is going to do concerning elections and candidates. "After many strong debates, we decided to NOT endorse candidates" said Mrs. Backdahl.
Minnesota Tea Party Patriots' mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values: Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.
The best way to describe the tea party movement is to say it is an issue based movement, similar to First Amendment Rights or Second Amendment Rights. It is outside of the political/election process and attracts people from all political parties.
"America was designed to have Americans participate in the process of its governance. It is our civic duty, if we fail to show up, we fail our country!. Congress passes legislation is does not write or read, someone has to pay attention." said Mrs. Backdahl.
When Gov. Pawlenty line item vetoed projects from the bonding bill, he included a message on his reasoning for vetoing each project.
Pawlenty's rationale for vetoing $8.5 million for Rochester Community and Technical College said "The Legislative Auditor's Report on workforce training stated no clear advantage in locating workforce centers on campuses."
The Legislative Auditor took issue with Pawlenty's rationale. In a letter, Legisatlve Auditor James Nobles wrote :
"While I appreciate your consideration of our report, Workforce Programs, your veto message is a misleading characterization of our conclusion. Our report said, "locating workforce centers on McSCU campuses can be beneficiail for certain workforce clients, but the benefits are not automatic and largely depend on local conditions."
It is also important to note that we based our conclusion on information about experiences with workforce centers currently located on MnSCU campuses. We did not evaluate the workforce center proposed for Rochester Community and Technical College and did not comment on its merits.
You can read the full report from the Legislative Auditor here.
A Minnesota House panel today rejected a bill to repeal the state's renewable energy standards.
Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said he proposed the repeal because he's concerned the requirements on power companies to use more wind and other energy sources is driving up the cost of electricity. Seifert is a GOP candidate for governor, and he's been facing criticism on the campaign trail for his 2007 vote in favor of the standards. His main rival voted the other way. Seifert said he didn't understand the impact of the standards three years ago and will push for the repeal again if elected governor.
"I plan on pushing a repeal of a lot of the things I think are driving up the cost of electricity and utilities in the state," Seifert said. "This is one of them.I have my name on this bill. But there are other thing I think, policies. I don't want to make us an island in the sand of job creation."
Seifert said he proposed the repeal this session because he's been hearing concerns across the state, and this was his first year serving on the House energy committee.
House Democrats released their budget targets today and they're banking on a pot of money that they criticized Governor Pawlenty for using. Democrats are budgeting $408 million in federal Medicaid money that hasn't passed into law yet.
House and Senate Democrats criticized Pawlenty for relying on the funds in his budget plan to help erase a nearly $1 billion budget deficit. DFL Representative Loren Solberg said he's more confident the state can rely on the funds since Congress is poised to pass it.
"When we questioned it, we said 'What's the status of it?' We said 'prove it to us.' We've been in contact and verifying their sources as well. Nothing is guaranteed on this but I feel a lot better about now than I did when the governor first submitted a proposal to us."
GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers called Democrats hypocrites for ripping Governor Pawlenty for using the unallocated funds but are now relying on the same funds to balance the budget.
"From our standpoint, it's just a lot of hypocrisy. It's a lot of what I would call political jabbing one day or one week and then come back and use some of the same things..."
The targets also call for another $155 million in HHS cuts, $146 million in savings from the General Assistance Medical Care deal and few cuts to early childhood or K12 schools.