Redistricting leads the Digest today. In particular, how the Congressional lines are drawn. Minnesota's delegation is keeping a close eye on the process.
State officials have recommended supervised release for two violent sex offenders.
KSTP takes a look at the Minneapolis Police and Fire pension funds.
Gov. Dayton put forward his plan to increase school funding.
GOP leaders to push photo ID bill forward.
Timber firms sue Minnesota over pay caps.
The Senate Ethics Panel will head a complaint against a GOP Senator. The hearing will be just three hours after Dayton's State of the State.
President Obama sat down for an interview with Bill O'Reilly yesterday.
Iran started a trial on 3 Americans charged with spying.
Experts are offering alternatives to President Obama's health mandate.
DFL Sen. Al Franken visited a health center on the Fon du Lac Reservation.
GOP Rep. John Kline traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan over the weekend.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz and GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen will hold separate town hall forums today.
2012 Race for U.S. Senate
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar hopes for a grace period before the 2012 campaign begins. The news in this story is that MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton told AP that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann won't run for the U.S. Senate.
Ken Martin was elected DFL Party Chair.
The IP selected an interim chair.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Tim Pawlenty will be in Iowa today to speak to social conservatives. The event is sponsored by the Iowa Family Leader.
The Star Tribune says the speeches are bigger play by Pawlenty to court Evangelicals.
Pawlenty was in Chicago on Friday.
A poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Pawlenty trialing President Obama.
Bachmann for Prez Watch
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann backs off her plan to cut pay for vets.
Bachmann says her motivation in life is to Repeal ObamaCare. Bachmann made the comments in Montana.
The Des Moines Register reports that Bachmann is looking to hire potential staff in Iowa.
Every 10 years, Minnesota's Congressional boundaries have to be redrawn so there's equal population in each Congressional district. And as I reported this morning, Minnesota's delegation is keeping a close eye on how the process plays out in St. Paul.
The U.S. Census Bureau has not released the population estimates for each district but you can see which districts will need to grow and which districts will shrink by looking at past population estimates. Each Congressional district has to have 662,990 people in it. If you look at the 2009 population estimates, you'll get a good sense of the makeup of each district. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson has to pick up the most population followed by DFL Rep. Keith Ellison. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has to lose the most. Followed by GOP Rep. John Kline.
(Here's a cool map that shows the info based on the 2009 population estimates)
Here's how the districts line up when you look at 2009 population estimates and how much population it will have to gain/lose to get to the magic number:
1st Congressional District (DFL Rep. Tim Walz)
2009 estimate: 635,429 (-27,561)
2nd Congressional District (GOP Rep. John Kline)
2009 estimate: 737,324 (+74,334)
3rd Congressional District (GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen)
2009 estimate: 664,528 (+1,538)
4th Congressional District (DFL Rep. Betty McCollum)
2009 estimate: 623,879 (-39,111)
5th Congressional District (DFL Rep. Keith Ellison)
2009 estimate: 618,292 (-44,698)
6th Congressional District (GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann)
2009 estimate: 755,489 (+92,499)
7th Congressional District (DFL Rep. Collin Peterson)
2009 estimate: 615,742 Peterson (-47,248)
8th Congressional District (GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack)
2009 estimate: 649,438 (-13,552)
Posted at 5:00 PM on February 7, 2011
by Tim Nelson
The Met Council has published the list of finalists for the 16 non-chair council spots on the regional board. They've winnowed it down from 222 applicants to 95.
Here's the list.
The winnowers included former Anoka County commissioner Dennis Berg, St. Paul city council member Melvin Carter III, Jay Cowles, Hennepin County commissioner Gail Dorfman, Apple Valley mayor Mary Hamman-Roland, former Woodbury mayor Bill Hargis, and Savage mayor Janet Williams.
The candidates will be interviewed starting Wednesday in public meetings in St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Prior Lake and Brooklyn Park, lasting up to four hours. They'll wrap up Feb. 17.
That didn't take long. Negotiators on a House/Senate budget plan took less than an hour to reach a deal on a conference committee report that cuts nearly $1 billion in state spending.
The bill cuts aid in local governments, higher education and funding for health and human services programs. The biggest change is the amount of money Minnesota Management and Budget has to cut from the current budget. Negotiators locked in on $100 million in unspecified cuts. They also instructed Finance officials to not cut programs for veterans, higher education, workforce retraining and disaster relief.
The bill also cuts aid to cities and counties in the current two year budget but doesn't make cuts to the program in the next biennium. The measure also removes a pay freeze requirement for state workers.
Negotiators didn't say when the full House and Senate will vote on the measure but GOP Rep. Mary Liz Holberg of Lakeville says the goal is to send it to Governor Dayton by February 10th.
Dayton hasn't said whether he'll veto the bill but has repeatedly warned lawmakers that he wanted the Legislature to address the full $6.2 billion budget deficit and not do it in a "piece meal" approach.
Surly Brewing Company announced today that it wants to build a $20 million brewery in Minnesota. The plan includes a 60,000 square foot, two story brewery, a 250 seat restaurant, a 30 foot bar and a beer garden. Here's part of the plan from Surly's blog:
The brewery is good for us, and great for Surly fans, but it'll also benefit our state by creating as many as 85 construction jobs to build it over nine months and 150 permanent Minnesota jobs, and offer a complete event center, for concerts, parties, business events, weddings, and more. Now there's a reason to renew your vows.
The only problem is that Surly needs to change the law in order to build the brewery and have a restaurant. That's because a law prohibits large brewers from owning a restaurant and bar for fear that they'll sell their beer at a lower prices than other bar owners.
A lobbyist for the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents bar owners, told me they're against changing the law.
Liquor laws are complicated and controversial. A small proposed change in law can mean a huge fight in the Legislature. The MLBA is also a pretty powerful organization because there are bar/restaurant/package owners in every legislative district. A heavy lobbying effort can slow down or defeat any form of legislation.
No lawmaker has introduced legislation on behalf of Surly but I'm told it will come soon. Surly has also hired a well known lobbying firm to help them with their efforts.
I'll post a more formal response from MLBA if/when they send it to me.
Update: Here's a response from Frank Ball, with the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association:
It's pretty simple within the parameters of the three-tier structure we have in Minnesota. The manufactures make the product, the wholesalers distribute the product and we, the retailers, sell the product to the consumer. It's even more simple if you say it the way my retailers say it: "you make it, we'll sell it"...you make it 'and' sell it, we won't buy from you".
The reason for the three-tier structure was to keep the integrity of the distribution of a controlled, highly regulated, commodity. Alcohol -- like prescription drugs or firearms -- is no ordinary commodity. In fact, alcoholic beverages are the only commercial products specifically named in the United States Constitution. Because our society recognizes the importance of controlling alcohol use and access, alcohol has always been treated differently under the law than most other products.
The manufacturers (breweries, vineyards and distilleries) supply distributors. Under the laws which created the three-tier system, each level of the system is independent of the others, ensuring accountability to the public as well as the benefits of healthy competition. By preventing tied houses (i.e. Retailers that sell the products of only one supplier), the three-tier system limits the number of retail outlets and therefore promotes moderate consumption, hence our position with the Surly matter. We want the Surly product to sell in our stores, we don't want the manufacturer of a great beer to sell to the public, we'll do that enthusiastically as possible.