Posted at 7:17 AM on March 18, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that keeps General Assistance Medical Care but at a cheaper price. Hospitals, especially rural facilities, are skeptical of the plan.
A Senate committee will examine separate funding issues for veterans this morning including Gov. Pawlenty's diversion of license plate funds to pay for someone in his office.
House Democrats released budget targets this week and they rely on the same federal money that they criticized Gov. Pawlenty for using. The money hasn't been passed into law yet on the federal level.
The Mall of America has smaller plans to expand. The measure is a part of a job creation/tax cut bill.
Tight budgets on the local level make police training an issue.
Minnesota Republicans want the state attorney general to challenge the federal health overhaul bill if it becomes law.
Minnesota petitions to take wolves off of the endangered list.
A committee in the Minnesota House votes no on a porn free hotel bill.
A nuclear plant studies bill advances.
The CBO score on the health bill will likely delay the House vote.
President Obama sits down with Fox News.
Obama said "a vote's a vote" when it comes to the House parliamentary move.
KEYC reports that DFL Rep. Tim Walz is undecided on the bill.
The Senate also enters the health care endgame.
Republicans are plotting a Senate health care roadblock.
The White House releases health statistics for every congressional district.
Idaho is the first state to challenge the federal health bill. Idaho's governor signed a bill into that that requires the state attorney general to sue the federal government if residents are forced to buy health insurance.
The bill hasn't even been passed into law yet but Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann are calling to repeal it.
For the first time during his presidency, a Gallup poll shows more people disapprove of President Obama than approve of him.
The Senate passed the jobs bill and sent it to the White House. President Obama will likely sign it today.
The Washington Post profiles DFL Sen. Al Franken.
GOP Rep. John Kline says President Obama's education plan restricts local schools.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison considers a resolution in support of Mumia Abu Jamal, a convicted murderer who is on death row. It was part of a larger dialogue on social change.
2010 Race for Governor
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak explains how the city is handling potholes.
2010 Race for Congress
Smart Politics looks at the competitiveness of Minnesota's districts.
2010 Race for the Legislature
The race to replace GOP Sen. Steve Dille could head to a GOP primary.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty is scheduled to be back in Minnesota today after spending time in Florida on politics and vacationing with his family.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour visited South Carolina.
The University of Minnesota is making a move to sell alcohol in special seating at TCF Bank Stadium. DFL Sen. Jim Metzen successfully amended a liquor bill last week that was being heard in the Senate Commerce Committee. It would allow the U of M to sell alcohol in premium seating.
The U of M sought the liquor exemption last year but was rebuffed when the Legislature required alcohol be sold in the entire stadium if the decision was made to sell alcohol in the stadium. In other words, alcohol had to be sold in the entire stadium if it was sold at all. U of M President Bob Bruininks later announced that alcohol wouldn't be sold at all at the stadium as a result of the legislation.
Metzen's amendment would allow for the U of M to sell alcohol selectively in the stadium (my understanding is it would also apply to The Barn and Mariucci Arena).
The bill also requires any proceeds from alcohol sales to be dedicated to athletic scholarships at the U of M. athletic scholarships. Metzen's amendment also calls for a study of the issue to gauge its impact by January 15, 2012.
The bill moved to the Senate Higher Education Finance Committee.
Question of the Day: Should the U of M be allowed to sell alcohol in premium seating exclusively or should any legally aged ticket holder be allowed to buy a beer at the game?
Republicans in Minnesota Senate District 25 and House District 25B endorsed their respective legislative candidates on Tuesday night. But the delegates in House District 25A delayed their endorsing convention.
No big deal right? Not when it's GOP state Rep. Laura Brod, who some say could be Tom Emmer's running mate in November.
Brod said a decision to hold the endorsement closer to the end of the legislative session was "made quite a while ago." She said her last two endorsing conventions were held after session was finished and added reporters shouldn't read too much into the delay.
As for being Emmer's running mate, Brod downplayed the chances but didn't totally rule it out. Here's what she said when asked about the chance that she could be on Emmer's ticket (Note: Brod is on Emmer's seach Lt. Gov. search committee):
"I don't think anybody runs for Lt. Governor. My job right now is to help Tom Emmer find the best Lieutenant Governor that there is and that's what I've been focused on."
"I'm no Dick Cheney. I'm here to find that person and I haven't been put on the committee to make that person me. I'm going to be out there doing what we already started to do, which is to find a good fit, to find somebody who can transform government and make that role more than just about cutting ribbons."
"My job really is not to find myself of Lieutenant Governor. My job is to find the best Lieutenant Governor for Tom and that's what I'm focused on doing."
All of that being said, Emmer would still have to pick Brod as a running mate. No word on when he'll make a decision.
Governor Pawlenty released his NCAA picks today and there's two things we learned.
1) He likes the chalk. He has three number 1 seeds in his Final Four (Kansas, Duke and Kentucky) and a number 7 seed (BYU) instead of number 1 seed Syracuse (my alma mater). In other words, he's playing it safe.
2) He's a homer. Pawlenty picked the University of Minnesota to get to the Sweet 16.
Several folks on Twitter also pointed out something interesting. Governor Pawlenty, who is ramping up a run for president, gave a little love to the first caucus state when he picked Northern Iowa to beat UNLV (not a big stretch).
That got me thinking how Pawlenty's picks play politically.
Northern Iowa is a key pick because it's the only school representing a state that plays an early part in the 2012 nomination. Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina aren't dancing this year.
But the tea leaves show he may be watching 2012 politics at least a little bit...
The governor picked Michigan St., Ohio St., Florida St., Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Missouri. All of those schools are in key presidential battleground states. The only picks that go against the battleground grain are Florida (who ended up losing today to BYU) and Ohio (he's picking Georgetown).
Pawlenty also didn't pick any teams from the Big East to make the Final Four. Another signal that a 2012 GOP hopeful is writing off the east?
Am I missing anything?
Republican Marty Seifert released a budget balancing plan today that erases $1 billion in state spending. His campaign for governor released the proposal just an hour and a half before his head to head debate with Republican Tom Emmer. In an e-mail to supporters, Seifert wrote:
"You deserve, and indeed it is my obligation as a candidate for governor, to propose specific, in-depth policy solutions to the challenges facing our state. Among the most pressing concerns is the budget, how it is balanced, and more importantly, how it is reformed to reduce spending, downsize government and help create private sector jobs."
Seifert's campaign released the specifics of the proposal on his website but here are the spending cuts for each division, etc.:
This plan does not raise any taxes or fees. It also does not rely on any borrowing, accounting gimmicks or federal stimulus funds. It balances the budget for the current biennium and makes significant progress toward long term fiscal stability. The recommendations include a total savings of $1.072.05 billion in these areas:
* HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES - $452 million
* AIDS AND CREDITS - $251.3 million
* STATE GOVERNMENT - $135.1 million
* HIGHER EDUCATION - $53.3 million
* K12 AND EARLY EDUCATION - $50 million
* NATURAL RESOURCES AND AGRICULTURE - $49 million
* ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - $46 million
* COMMERCE AND ENERGY - $20.15 million
* CORRECTIONS AND COURTS - $11.2 million
* TRANSPORTATION - $4 million
Some of the portions of the proposal highlight conservative principles like a defined contribution plan for MinnesotaCare enrollees, reduce integration aid for disadvantaged school districts and cut Local Government Aid by $250 million. He also wants to merge the Department of Human Services with the Department of Health, the Pollution Control Agency with the Department of Natural Resources and split duties under the Department of Labor and Industry with the Commerce Department and the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
It's likely that Seifert will propose this plan as an alternative to the proposals being considered by Democrats in control of the Minnesota House and Senate. It's also an attempt to force Emmer to outline greater specifics on where he would cut government.
I'm covering the debate tonight and I'll post audio/video of the debate later.