Republicans approved their slate of candidates for the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents. The list includes former GOP House Speaker Steve Sviggum, former GOP state Rep. Laura Brod and Minnesota Power executive (and MN Chamber board member) David McMillan. Democrats cry foul. AFL-CIO member Steve Hunter is the odd man out and loses his seat on the Board of Regents.
The newest member of the Minnesota Legislature will be sworn in today. DFLer Carly Melin will take her oath of office in Hibbing.
The recent snowfall increases the flood risk in the state.
Governor Dayton will hold metro flood meetings.
Dayton also held a conference call with North Dakota's governor and the Manitoba Premier about potential flooding in northwestern Minnesota.
Dayton will speak at a U of M rally at the State Capitol.
The city of Minneapolis held stadium talks with the Vikings.
A lack of housing is forcing a high volume of sex offenders into metro neighborhoods.
DFL state Rep. Joe Atkins wants former Gov. Tim Pawlenty to come testify in favor of his renewable energy standard that some Republicans want to repeal.
A committee in the Minnesota House passed the "cheeseburger bill."
Wisconsin Labor standoff
Neither side is budging in the Wisconsin union fight.
The New York Times takes a look at how the Koch brothers play a role in Wisconsin's union fight.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will address Wisconsin residents directly regarding the standoff.
Meanwhile, unions go up with an ad criticizing Walker.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticizes Libya's leadership for a brutal crackdown on protesters.
U.S. drone attacks aren't hitting high ranking militants.
The protests in Bahrain could harm U.S. military efforts in the Middle East.
The American held in Pakistan worked with the CIA.
President Obama holds a small business summit in Cleveland.
The House and Senate are in talks to avoid a government shutdown.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack will attend a Highway 53 Task Force meeting in April.
2012 Race for President
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann adds another Iowa trip to her schedule. This time she'll be speaking at Congressman Steve King's event.
The Star Tribune takes a look at why Pawlenty's attacks are becoming more pointed. Some argue that it's Pawlenty's decision to be a little more bold. Critics say he's running a campaign of "gimmicks and slogans."
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour campaigned in Iowa.
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We had a story last week comparing the retirement and health benefits of public sector workers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Those are the highest-profile points of the economic battle being waged between Wis. Gov. Scott Walker and the public employee unions in the Badger State.
But many contended the picture wasn't complete without a look at wages, since bargaining units often trade one for the other -- typically retirement benefits or health premiums in lieu of up-front pay. It was hard to run all that down in time for Friday morning's story.
The reason: It's very, very difficult to compare. No one in either state tracks health benefits for teachers overall. And while state-by-state wage data is available, it's typically for individual occupations, without distinguishing between private and public sector workers.
That said, there are some jobs that are largely public. School teachers. Fire fighters. Cops and judges. Information on those is available from a single source, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Below you'll find a table drawn from that data, for a series of jobs.
The bottom line? Mixed. For some jobs, like teachers, the USBLS said median wages in Wisconsin actually led Minnesota in 2009, despite Wisconsin's comparatively generous pension benefits. For others, like court, municipal and licensing clerks (also likely public employees), Minnesotans get a pretty noticable 24 percent premium.
A few caveats here: the teacher numbers do not distinguish between public and private schools, although the biggest proportion are presumably public school teachers. The clerk numbers also do not distinguish between the differences in the judicial systems in the two states: Wisconsin has 252 municipal courts, as well as a state 10-district Circuit Court system. Minnesota has had an exclusively state court system since 1986. That may as well explain the wide disparity in the judge salaries.
At any rate, here are the numbers, ranked by USBLS median salary data in 2009.
|State||Median wage||Mean wage|
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Vocational Education
Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School
Court, Municipal, and License Clerks
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
Correctional Officers and Jailers
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data dowloaded 2/22/2011, dated May, 2009. Annual wages calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by 2080 hours; where an hourly mean wage is not published the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data. Data can be accessed at http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm
A Republican state senator is backing off an effort to repeal early expansion of Medicaid in Minnesota. Governor Dayton ordered the expansion to cover 95,000 people who are currently either on state health care programs or who have no health insurance.
Republican Senator David Hann of Eden Prairie joined other Republicans in objecting to expansion. But Hann said today that he will no longer push to repeal the expansion because it would make the state's budget deficit worse.
"After some consideration we felt that it might be an easier approach just to not deal with that issue," Hann said. "Especially given the likelihood that the governor is not likely to sign a bill that repeals an action that he's taken already."
Hann and other Republicans criticized the Medicaid expansion because it's part of the new federal health overhaul. They said there's too much uncertainty about what it will cost the state in the future. Dayton said the expansion will ensure greater health coverage to more Minnesotans. The expansion is supposed to start next month.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton this afternoon had some of his strongest language yet regarding public employees and their labor unions.
He spoke for about 8 minutes at the AFL-CIO rally in the Capitol rotunda, called in support of embattled public employee unions in Wisconsin. Referring to anti-union measures afoot in Minnesota's legislature, Dayton said "drastic, extreme measures won't become law here, because I'm here."
You can hear his entire speech below. He opens with a birthday greeting for Eliot Seide, director of AFSCME Council 5.