Voter ID leads the Digest today. The Minnesota Senate takes up a bill requiring people to show photo identification in order to vote. Supporters of the measure say they hope Gov. Dayton will sign the bill. But they have back-up plans in case of a veto.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, wants to amend the state's constitution to require people to present photo identification to vote.
Kiffmeyer's move comes one day after an amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman was introduced in the Minnesota Senate.
Senate Republicans will tout today as "lawsuit reform" day at the State Capitol.
The House Public Safety Committee will feature gun rights legislation in committee. On Wednesday, lawmakers in that committee debates the police role in enforcing immigration laws.
All of these policy issues surface at a time when the state is facing a $5 billion budget deficit. GOP legislative leaders bragged about how fast they released and passed their respective budgets. Now they're defending how slow they're taking in getting them to Gov. Dayton.
The Star Tribune takes a look at the impact of the proposed cuts to the Department of Corrections.
A bill to curb the Met Council moves forward.
Tidbit: Gov. Dayton received praise for mingling with Pheasants Forever, The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and other hunting and fishing groups. Several praised him for the job he was doing as governor. The so-called Hook and Bullet crowd usually aligns themselves more with Republicans.
President Obama released his full birth certificate on Wednesday. He released the document to put greater focus on the budget. He called criticism that he wasn't born in the United States "silliness." The release created even more media hysteria.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs says Apple executives will likely testify at DFL Sen. Al Franken's hearing on the IPhone.
Apple blamed the tracking software on a "bug." It said a software update will fix it.
CIA Director Leon Panetta was hired to be Secretary of Defense.
General David Petreaus was hired to be CIA director.
Race for U.S. Senate
The PoliGraph says DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar got a claim about renewable energy wrong.
Race for President
Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann will be in New Hampshire this weekend.
Pawlenty campaigned in Illinois on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Pawlenty criticized Donald Trump for making an accusation without having the proof to back it up.
Trump was in New Hampshire on Thursday. He got fact-checked and it ain't pretty.
Tidbit: A new website, designed by political consultant Ben Golnik, aims to capture Minnesota's political traffic.
Tweet of the Day
"Donald Trump is a waste of oxygen. Tell this clown 2 get hair plugs. Maybe it will keep what little brains he has left inside his skull."
- Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, not holding back his feelings about Trump and the constant media coverage he's getting.
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate have passed legislation requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls on election day.
The bill, which comes with about a $5 million price tag, passed today on a party line vote of 37 to 26. Under the legislation, any voter currently without identification could get one for free, if they present other documents. Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said the measure will help modernize the state's voting system. Limmer also said it would bring integrity back to that system.
"The public deserves to have confidence in the integrity of our election system," Limmer said. "And nothing inspires confidence like a well-ordered system that's secure and safe for the voter, and photo identification would certainly accomplish that."
Democrats argued the requirement would prevent many elderly and poor from voting. They say the bill is also an unnecessary cost at a time when the state budget has a $5 billion deficit. Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, the only African American in the state Senate, said he thinks many people of color would be disenfranchised.
"To say that that's not a poll tax I think is disingenuous," Harrington said. "My read of what a poll tax was historically was that it's a pre-condition for the right to vote. Whether it's de facto or implicit, it's still a pre-condition. And that's what this photo ID does is it creates a pre-condition to the right to vote."
Gov. Mark Dayton has also raised concerns about the need for a voter ID bill, but he regularly stops short of threatening a veto. A veto would slow, but not end the photo ID effort. Republican supporters have already introduced legislation to put the issue on the statewide ballot in 2012 as a proposed constitutional amendment. That process bypasses the governor and gives voters the power to approve the requirement.
Posted at 4:39 PM on April 28, 2011
by Tom Scheck
The Senate Transportation Committee approved a Capitol Security bill today that would create a panel that would advise the governor and Capitol Security on ways to improve security at the State Capitol.
The only problem is that those tasked to come up with protecting the people's house won't be meeting in public. The bill doesn't require the panel to adhere to the state's open meeting laws. That means the elected officials, law enforcement personnel, the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice and commissioners of several state agencies can discuss Capitol Security matters in complete privacy.
"I have not seen a commission like this, where they're totally exempt, from open meeting laws in all of my years here," privacy and open government advocate Rich Neumeister said. He said it's unheard of that the public won't be able to give any input into the security of the State Capitol. "For ten years, we're going to have a group talking about the people's house and our accessibility to the people's house, in secret."
The bill now moves to the State Government Innovation and Veterans Budget and Policy Committee.