Health care leads the Digest today. Republicans, who take control of the U.S. House today, will work to repeal the federal health care law. It's a symbolic effort since Democrats still control the U.S. Senate and President Obama will veto any such legislation.
Meanwhile... Governor Dayton intends to sign an executive order that would expand Medicaid in Minnesota. The move means 95,000 Minnesotans would be enrolled in the federal Medicaid program. 83,000 are on existing state programs. 12,000 uninsured would get coverage. Republicans oppose the move because they say it costs too much and is too risky.
Dayton will also scrap Gov. Pawlenty's order barring state agencies from seeking discretionary federal health grants.
On Tuesday, Republicans took control of the Minnesota Legislature and they say they're ready to get to work.
Dayton is also expected to announce two commissioners today. He told reporters that he plans to make four our five appointments this week.
Dayton also says he plans to propose a bonding bill by the end of the month.
Lawmakers will get a 25 year Clean Water plan presented to them this week.
The state's first broadband report says the state is lagging behind the state's goals for internet availability.
A Hennepin County Judge is facing a challenge to her residency.
New Ag Commissioner Dave Frederickson draws praise from the Ag community.
The 112th session of Congress begins today. The biggest change for Minnesota is that Republican Chip Cravaack will be sworn in. Cravaack appeared on a "Freshman Focus Group" on Hannity last night. Watch it here.
Meanwhile GOP Rep. John Kline, who will become chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced legislation calling for the repeal of the health care law.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will teach a constitution class today to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's Constitutional Conservative Caucus
Republicans in the House will make significant changes to the House rules.
The New York Times has a profile of incoming GOP House Speaker John Boehner.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson may vote to repeal parts of the health care law but not the entire package.
USA Today says states are losing billions in federal highway money because of earmarks.
President Obama is weighing a major staff shuffle.
Obama signed a bill to improve food safety.
A study finds one in five heart defibrillators are used improperly.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants to change the Senate's filibuster rules.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will introduce a bill repealing Wall St. reform.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
ABC's Terry Moran interviewed Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday. The interview is expected to air on Nightline on Thursday or Friday.
Bachmann for Prez Watch
ABC News is reporting that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is considering a run for the White House in 2012.
ABC News is reporting that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2012. The report says Bachmann will travel to Iowa this month for multiple meetings with Republican party leaders to discuss a presidential bid. She is also scheduled to speak on January 21st to an Iowans for Tax Relief PAC fundraiser in Des Moines.
Bachmann has made several trips to Iowa in the past year and has been ramping up her national profile. She has been mentioned as a possible challenger to DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012 but recent polling shows that it would be an uphill climb for Bachmann to win that seat. 51 percent of those polled saying they have an unfavorable opinion of her.
Bachmann's toughest challenge will be to show that she's a serious candidate who can appeal to middle of the road, independent minded voters. But she is a force among rank and file Republicans. Bachmann receives some of the loudest ovations at GOP events in Minnesota and nationally.
Bachmann has also proven that she can raise money - a key test for any presidential hopeful. Bachmann, who represents Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, shattered state fundraising records for a U.S. House seat during last year's election.
One key question to consider is how a possible Bachmann bid could harm Tim Pawlenty's possible run for the White House. Pawlenty is releasing his book next week and has been assembling a team to make a possible run. How would a Bachmann bid undermine those efforts?
Here's a statement from Doug Sachtleben, spokesman for Rep. Michele Bachmann:
"Congresswoman Bachmann is not taking anything off the table concerning the future, but her focus is on serving the people of Minnesota's sixth district. She's also taking opportunities to travel and to spread the message that the country cannot have another four years of President Obama. She is committed to defeating the President and his policies, and has been encouraged by people all across the country to speak out against them. That's what she's been doing, and will do in Iowa when she speaks to Iowans for Tax Reform in Des Moines on January 21st, and will continue to do as other opportunities arise."
And the office also sent along a quote from Bachmann:
"We need to repeal ObamaCare and we cannot do that until we repeal Obama. The voters repealed Nancy Pelosi in November and I am doing everything I can to make sure we repeal President Obama and Harry Reid in 2012."
Posted at 12:50 PM on January 5, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Governor Mark Dayton has filled two more cabinet posts, hiring lawyers to lead the Department of Commerce and the Department of Revenue.
Dayton announced today his selection of Mike Rothman as commerce commissioner and Myron Frans as revenue commissioner. Rothman was most recently an attorney with the firm of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., in Minneapolis. Frans has been a tax attorney for 27 years, most recently at the law firm of Faegre & Benson LLP in Minneapolis.
In a news release, Dayton said Rothman brings a distinguished record of consumer protection to the Commerce Department, and his experience dealing with the insurance industry will be an invaluable asset as commissioner.
"Mike Rothman brings a dedicated commitment to leading what has been, from many reports, a troubled agency," Dayton said. "He is charged by me with restoring a consumer response and protection ethic to the agency, and to making it again a consistent and responsible regulator of business practices."
Dayton also praised Frans, who won't be able to join the administration right away.
"I am very pleased that Myron Frans has accepted this call to public service," Dayton said. "I regret that he cannot join our Administration on a full-time basis immediately. However, I respect his need, as the CEO of a successful and growing business, to conclude those responsibilities properly. In the meantime, he will advise me on a voluntary part-time basis, and the Revenue Department will be very capably managed by former Commissioner and now Deputy Commissioner, Dan Salamone."
Governor Mark Dayton signed an executive order today
Dayton took the action as hundreds of supporters and protesters crowded into the governor's reception room. It was a tense scene as protesters shouted down Capitol Security officer for removing signs protesting Dayton's action and the federal health care law that allowed it. Dayton's order means 95,000 Minnesotans will now be eligible for Medicaid. Most of them are currently covered by other state-based programs, but 12,000 have no insurance at all.
"This is a step that benefits all of the people of our state at no net cost to the state of Minnesota according to the Department of Management and Budget."
Dayton took the unusual move of allowing critics to speak out against his action. It's rare for governors to allow protesters into the room. It's unheard of that a governor turns over his podium to them.
Twila Brase, with the Citizens Council on Health Care, said the long-term the expansion of Medicaid is too expensive.
"It really puts the state in peril when it comes to costs. There is something called tails which means once all of these people are on it will be difficult to get them off and it will be expensive to the state in the long haul."
Dayton says he wants the enrollment to start as soon as possible. Officials in the Pawlenty Administration said it would take until October until the program is in place, a timeline Governor Dayton says is unacceptable.