Minnesota's job numbers will be out this morning.
Gov. Dayton will hold a news conference this morning to discuss "developments in the plan for implementing the expansion of Medicaid in Minnesota."
Dayton appointed Mark Phillips to be the DEED Commissioner. Dayton also announced that public relations executive Kathy Tunheim will serve voluntarily in his administration as senior advisor on job creation.
Tunheim released her client list to the Star Tribune.
Here's a list of Dayton's appointments and the appointments he has yet to make.
Dayton met with the Chinese Trade delegation.
A GOP bill that would cut the state's payroll moves ahead.
The State Appeals Court rules Jennie-O doesn't need to pay workers for the time it takes for donning and doffing their uniforms.
Medication errors rise sharply at Minnesota hospitals.
GOP Rep. John Kline and other House Republicans will announce their alternatives to the health care law today.
The move comes one day after the House voted to repeal the health care law. The vote is mostly symbolic since President Obama and the Senate oppose it.
Minnesota's delegation reacted to the vote. Read their statements here.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann called the health care law the "crown jewel of socialism."
The health care law will require chain restaurants to post calorie counts and other nutritional information on the menus.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak warn of cuts to community grants.
President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao sparred over human rights.
The FDA plans modest changes to medical device approval.
2012 Race for the U.S. Senate
The MNGOP launched a website criticizing DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar. No Republican, except for Harold Shudlick, has stepped forward to say they'll challenge Klobuchar yet.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Tim Pawlenty signs books today in Texas.
A recent PPP poll has him polling at 5% in Texas.
He was in northern California on Wednesday speaking to the United Fresh Board of Directors.
Tim Pawlenty has sold 4765 books over the past ten days.
Pawlenty gave $34,000 to candidates in Iowa.
Gov. Dayton announced this morning that the states enrollment into the federal Medicaid program will be moved up to March first. Dayton made the announced just weeks after he signed an executive order enrolling 95 thousand Minnesotans into the federal program. The move allows Minnesota to receive more than $1 billion in federal matching money.
Dayton made the issue a top prirotiy for his administration. He questioned a timeline outlined by Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman as being too long. Ludeman and other members of the Pawlenty Administration said it would take until October for the MA expansion to be implemented. Dayton said Cindy Jesson, the new Human Services Commissioner, made the issue a priority.
"This shows what happens when you have a dedicated commissioner who is committed to the mission of the agency and an administration that is dedicated to carrying out the purpose of this."
Dayton's decision to sign the executive order has been controversial. Republicans criticized the move as an expansion of the federal health care law. Several Republicans suggested they may take legislative action to change the order.
Dayton, who has been careful to not threaten using his veto pen on other matters, said he would stop any action to change the MA expansion.
"This is one time where I will say I would veto anything that that came forward that attempted to impede this program or rescind it," Dayton said. "Unless they have two-thirds in both Houses to override it, this program will take effect as it should."
GOP Sen. David Hann says he plans to move forward with a plan to rescind the MA expansion despite the veto threat. He said he has concerns about the federal expansion in health care.
Governor Dayton's office announced today that he'll deliver his first State of the State on February 9th. His speech will be at Noon in the chamber of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Dayton is scheduled to deliver his first budget plan less than a week later - February 15th.
University of Virgina Political Scientist Larry Sabato released his 2012 presidential rankings for the GOP. To no one's surprise, he listed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as the front runner. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are also considered in his top tier.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is listed fourth on the rankings. Sabato gives him praise for the work he's been doing to ramp up his name identification but he said Pawlenty's blandness could be a problem.
Tim Pawlenty: The former two-term governor of Minnesota is by all accounts a dark horse for the GOP nomination. Even Pawlenty would agree with that. But there are long longshots and short longshots, and Pawlenty is in the latter category. He has been out in the field early and often, most recently promoting a new book, and while he has not made much of a splash, he has made progress. Pawlenty hopes that his blue-collar background will contrast with the Bluenose candidacy of Mitt Romney, if indeed Romney is able to maintain his front-runner status. Perhaps a little suspect because he was governor of a state with a liberal image, Pawlenty has insisted, maybe a little too strenuously, that he has been comprehensively conservative during his public life. As his supporters would suggest, at least he didn't pass a version of Obamacare in Minnesota. Pawlenty is understated, with a wry sense of humor, and he hasn't yet left much of an impression on the nascent campaign. But there is plenty of time, and as long as he can keep up his fundraising, Pawlenty can hope that the GOP field shakes out just right for an acceptable if bland Midwestern conservative. Stranger things have happened in presidential politics.
Sabato isn't questioning the excitement around GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann. Bachmann has said she's considering a 2012 run and will make her first entry into the 2012 with an appearance in Iowa tomorrow night. Sabato suggests in his rankings that Bachmann can't win in a general election but says she would be a "stick of dynamite in the Republican pond."
Michele Bachmann: Just elected to her third term in the U. S. House representing Minnesota's conservative Sixth Congressional District, Bachmann had been thought to be aiming for the Senate seat of freshman Democratic incumbent Amy Klobuchar in 2012. But apparently, her ambitions are still greater. While she has given no firm indication of a White House candidacy, there have been hints, including a scheduled trip to Iowa. Bachmann is a Tea Party favorite, and she has been a fierce advocate for virtually every socially and fiscally conservative position, from opposing abortion and gay rights to promoting property rights, stringent debt reduction, and lower taxes. Bachmann has a controversial style, and she is no favorite of the House Republican leadership. But if she played by the rules, this junior congresswoman wouldn't be on this list of possible presidential candidates. The most conservative activists love her, and she isn't about to step aside easily for the former governor of her state, Tim Pawlenty, or another woman with even higher visibility in the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin. (Pawlenty in particular must be unhappy with Bachmann's maneuverings.) We believe that gaining the GOP nomination for president is a bridge too far for any House member, including Bachmann. But she would certainly stir the pot; more accurately, she would be a stick of dynamite in the Republican pond.
You can read Sabato's full analysis here.
in other 2012 news, a new poll has been released in Iowa that shows Pawlenty and Bachmann in the middle of the 2012 pack. Pawlenty received support from 4.39% of those polled. Bachmann received support from 3.66% of those polled.
Gov. Dayton announced today that he's selected Thomas Roy to head the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Dayton made the announcement vie news release. Roy currently serves as Director of Arrowhead Regional Corrections, serving five Northern Minnesota counties.
"Tom Roy brings extensive experience in corrections and a proven commitment to protecting citizens and communities from offenders to this critically important responsibility," Dayton said in a news release. "My new Commissioners of Corrections, Mr. Roy, and of Public Safety, Chief Dohman, and I will work closely together with law enforcement officers, prison personnel, and local public safety officials to do everything possible to assure the safety of the people of Minnesota."
"I am honored to be selected by Governor Dayton to lead this important agency," said Roy. "I take nothing more seriously than the charge of keeping the public, our staff in our communities and facilities, and our offenders safe and secure. Many believe justice is completed after there is a finding of guilt. However, the real task begins in the effort to make offenders more productive citizens and successfully return them to the community."
Dayton also announced that Lee Sheehy, who served on Dayton's transition team, will Chair the Commission on Judicial Selection.
Posted at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Evie Axdahl and Brian Sullivan will announce tonight at the Minnesota Republican Party's State Executive Committee meeting that they are resigning their respective posts as RNC Committeewomman and RNC Committeeman. Axdahl and Sullivan confirmed the moves to MPR News.
Axdahl says she's resigning because her husband is in poor health and she believes that "my family is my first priority." She was first elected as RNC Committeewoman in 1989. She said she's most proud that women have a greater role in politics.
"We have started getting women more active and giving them more confidence in participating in politics," Axdahl said. "I think we confirmed that during the last election."
Sullivan has served as RNC Committeeman for six years. He was a one-time candidate for governor. He told MPR News that his resignation will be effective at the election of his successor at the next state central meeting.
"My various business interests and charitable activities were taking more and more time, making it difficult to continue serving as National Committeeman. In addition, having served almost six years in this role, I thought it was a good time for someone else to have the opportunity to serve," Sullivan said in an e-mail.
The RNC Committee members serve two roles. They help direct the party at the state level on the MNGOP's Executive Committee. They have a vote on the Republican National Committee.
The election for each of their successors will likely occur at the April state party central committee meeting. It will be a one year term. Another four year term starts in 2012.
Several names have surfaced to replace Axdahl and Sullivan. Former GOP state Rep. Laura Brod, former State Auditor Pat Anderson, Janet Beihoffer, Mary Igo and Margaret Cavanaugh are all said to be considering a run.
MNGOP Treasurer Dave Sturrock, former state Rep. and gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer, Hennepin County Board member Jeff Johnson and former MNGOP executive director Ben Golnik are also said to be considering a run to replace Sullivan.
Update: Sturrock says he's running for reelection as MNGOP Treasurer.
Posted at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: MN Legislature
At his first official meeting of the commisson this morning, he said an engineering study of the damage done by the roof's collapse could require the replacement of the entire roof -- a process that could take six months. The study is still underway.
The Vikings' schedule isn't finalized until April, but the lengthy consideration of the roof project means a roof job could theoretically run into August, when the Vikes typically open their home exhibition season in the Dome.
Asked whether it was practical to re-roof the stadium, even as the Legislature debates its replacement, Mondale said insurance is likely to cover all but about $25,000 of the repairs. In short, they're getting a mulligan. Previous estimates of a roof job have run upwards of $15 million.
Interestingly, the commission this morning also approved a project to reconfigure the acoustic liner under the center of the roof. Facilties manager Steve Maki said a sheet under the center section of the outer shell will be replaced with vertical baffles -- intended to better conduct heat up onto the roof, melt more snow and prevent another collapse.
All of that is pointing to some life for the Metrodome after the Vikings' contract to play there expires next season -- even though the MSFC commission itself once proposed tearing the thing down as soon as 2012 to build Metrodome Next.
Mondale said he was meeting with lawmakers starting this afternoon to talk about a stadium bill for the Vikings. He offered no new details.
Team vice president Lester Bagley watched today's meeting from the second row of seats, but didn't have much to say beyond "Ted Mondale is an excellent choice" for MSFC commission chair and "We'll see" regarding the team's home field.
Mondale said Gov. Mark Dayton "isn't interested in an approach like last session," when the stadium bill got perfunctory hearings in the waning days of the 86th Legislature. "The governor is saying very clearly that this is the year."
Posted at 8:00 PM on January 20, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Vikings stadium
A couple of interesting tidbits from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission meeting this morning:
Tim Baylor took his oath of office today, making him what staff said is the first former Viking to serve on the board that runs the team's home field. He was also DFL Sen. Becky Lourey's running-mate during her 2006 run for governor.
Baylor played safety for the Vikings in 1979 and 1980. He's a real estate developer and McDonalds franchisee in the Twin Cities.
But Baylor wasn't the only former pro athlete to join the MFSC ranks today.
The commission's executive director Bill Lester pointed out that MSFC Chair and former DFL state senator Ted Mondale could have made a living in the Dome himself -- as a pro motocross racer back in the day.
Here's a picture the American Motorcyclist Association News ran in May, 1977, with a profile of biker "Teddy," the then-vice-president's son.
"So we have joining two former athletes, marvelous athletes," Lester told the commission. "We've never had that before."
Mondale demurred to the former NFL player: "I think he got paid a lot more than I did. I'm still looking for my pension fund."
Posted at 10:31 PM on January 20, 2011
by Tom Scheck
It only took a matter of hours before names started popping up to replace Evie Axdahl and Brian Sullvan as RNC Committeeman and RNC Committeewoman.
Tom Emmer, a former state lawmaker and candidate for governor, issued a news release saying he'll be running for the position.
"I want to continue to build on our Party's successes in 2010 so I am announcing my plan to run for National Committeeman for the Republican Party of Minnesota. 2012 offers the same historic opportunity of 2010 if we help our eventual Republican presidential nominee to a win in Minnesota for the first time since 1972. We will also have to battle for control of both chambers of the legislature under a new redistricting map and we need to build on our success in the Congressional races and elect a new Republican U.S. Senator. We have quite the task ahead of us in the coming months and I would like to play a role in ensuring that our Party continues to succeed," said in a written statement.
Ben Golnik, a political operative and former executive director for the Minnesota Republican Party, also announced a run to supporters. He stressed his role as Emmer's recount director and the lead political consultant for the Senate Republican Caucus (which took control of the Senate for the first time in nearly forty years).
"I am running for this position because I believe we need a strong Party as we face the important 2012 election an election when our Party will need to be united to defeat liberals Amy Klobuchar and Barack Obama.
Many of you have expressed your thoughts to me regarding the role of the National Committeeman. I have heard your comments about the need for the Committeeman to be engaged at the grassroots level and serve as the eyes and ears of the grassroots at the State Party Executive Committee. In addition, you have told me we need the Committeeman to advocate strongly on behalf of our State Party and candidates to those in power at the Republican National Committee. I believe my skill set provides the background and experience to perform these duties effectively on your behalf."
Update: Janet Beihoffer is also running for the position. Beihoffer, a former Chair in CD2, sent out an e-mail to supporters announcing her run. In it, she said cited GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack's recent praise of her and her belief that there needs to be "difference makers" in the party.
"The role of a National Committeeman or woman is changing. It can no longer be a ceremonial position, a reward for party loyalty or a bench for once-and-future candidates for office. The RNC is the body that makes our National Party run, a body that can propel us to victory or mire us in ineffectiveness, a group that can make a difference. We need to repopulate the RNC with proven "Difference Makers." With your support, I truly believe that after the next elections we will once again hear people say, "You made the difference."