Posted at 6:32 AM on May 10, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
There's less than two weeks to go until the end of the legislative session. Governor Dayton and GOP lawmakers are no closer to a budget deal.
Dayton told the Pioneer Press that he's willing to scale back his income tax hike on Minnesota's top earners if the GOP drops its insistence on balancing the budget through spending cuts alone. The GOP says it won't raise taxes.
Monday's end of session "Tempest in a Teapot" focused on veterans issues (again). Dayton says GOP leaders should specify in their budgets that they don't want to cut Vet services. The request came from the head of the American Legion. GOP Sen. Mike Parry says Dayton is "no leader" but won't say if he'll specify in the budget that he'll protect Veterans services.
The House Redistricting Committee and the Senate Redistricting Committee hold hearings today on the proposed maps. On Monday, House Republicans released their proposed Congressional map. The proposal protects every incumbent and gives GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack a more friendly district.
Here's a look at the maps.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson says the GOP plan "doesn't make any sense."
Tidbit: Don't expect Democrats in the House or Senate to propose a new map at either hearing. They aren't happy with the process the GOP used to release the maps and are wondering if the GOP will be interested in compromising after Dayton vetoes the plan.
Nearly half of Twin Cities mortgage holders are under water.
The latest Star Tribune poll says most still oppose a public subsidy for the Vikings.
A new report says the Minnesota River is still ailing.
Reduced lunch pay policies are causing some students to go hungry.
Author Neil Gaiman will make another Legacy Fund appearance.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner says he wants trillions of dollars in cuts in exchange for lifting the debt ceiling.
President Obama will discuss immigration in Texas today.
President Obama's health care law creeps closer to the high court.
The federal government gave Minnesota $5 million for high-speed rail to Duluth.
DFL Sen. Al Franken holds a hearing today on privacy issues regarding smart phones and apps.
Race for President
Newt Gingrich is running for president.
Some of Iowa's top GOP donors are headed to New Jersey with the hopes of convincing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run.
NPR profiles GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The Iowa Independent says Pawlenty tops their rankings.
Tweet of the Day
Is Tarryl Clark's Duluth condo for sale yet?
-MPR's Bob Collins after the GOP redistricting plan put DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in a northern Minnesota district. A spokesman for Clark, who announced on Sunday that she was moving to Duluth to challenge GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack, says Clark is committed to running but didn't say if she'd run in Duluth or St. Cloud.
Gov. Dayton announced today that it would cost the state of Minnesota $240 million to make road improvements and other infrastructure improvements to an Arden Hills site that could be the home to the new stadium.
Dayton said the highway improvements should be considered the state's share to the stadium.
"If some of that goes to transportation, in the case of the commissioner's (MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel) analysis, $175 million goes to transportation, then $125 million would be available to invest in other aspects of the project, construction or site acquisition or whatever. That would be the same amount that would be provided, the $300 million for the site in Minneapolis as well, so its an even-handed commitment on the part of the state."
He also said Vikings owners told him that they'll make an announcement later this afternoon.
On the budget, Dayton said legislative leaders have discussed a possible pathway to begin negotiations. He didn't offer specifics but said he still wants Republicans in the House and Senate to agree on one plan.
"One budget," Dayton said. "One Republican budget, that's balanced and based on verifiable reliable assumption is what I've said until I'm blue in the face, six weeks now, is what I require to commence negotiations," Dayton said.
Dayton also suggested that he would veto a redistricting plan because it doesn't have broad, bipartisan approval. Republicans in the Minnesota House approved a redistricting map that redraws the lines for Minnesota's eight congressional districts. Dayton said the proposal was "an interesting configuration" for rural Minnesota but wouldn't say whether he would veto the bill. When told the Democrats don't like the proposal, he said "well then it doesn't meet my standards."
I'll post video of the newser once it's encoded.
Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Minneapolis tomorrow for a private fundraiser at a Minneapolis home. A person with knowledge of the fundraiser says Dean and Karin Phillips will host the fundraiser tomorrow afternoon. The asking price is $10,000 a couple. The money raised from the fundraiser will go to President Obama's reelection campaign.
Posted at 3:50 PM on May 10, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON - Before a packed hearing room, executives from Apple and Google told a group of senators this morning that their companies take consumer privacy seriously.
DFL Sen. Al Franken called the hearings as part of a newly-formed subcommittee tasked with examining the privacy implications of new technologies. Since joining the Senate in 2009, Franken has taken a strong interest in online issues, including net neutrality regulations and privacy.
"I believe that consumers have a fundamental right to know what data is being collected about them," Franken said in opening remarks. "I also believe that they have a right to decide whether they want to share that information, and with whom they want to share it and when."
In an interview with MPR News yesterday, Franken said more than just privacy was at stake for some people.
"The first people that got back to me [after the hearings were announced] were the Minnesota battered women's coalition," Franken said. "They said that this technology is frequently exploited by abusive partners."
Both Apple and Google are under scrutiny because their smartphone platforms are popular with consumers and both companies have had very public missteps around privacy issues in the recent past.
Apple "does not track users information," said Guy "Bud" Tribble, the company's vice-president of technology, in response to questions about a recently discovered file on Apple's iPhone and iPad devices that contains detailed data about a user's whereabouts.
Google Director of Public Policy Alan Davidson emphasized that users could only voluntarily opt-in to his company's location-based services, which transmit data back to Google.
But other experts said every part of the smart phone ecosystem, from Google and Apple to software developers to cell phone carriers, operates in a legal free-for-all zone.
"The default law in this country for sharing of data is you can do whatever you want," said Justin Brookman, a consumer privacy advocate with the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, DC.
Google and Apple both emphasized that the data collected by both companies was stripped of identifying information and made anonymous, a claim disputed by another witness, Ashkan Soltani.
"It's really difficult to call this stuff anonymous, making those claims is not I think really sincere," said Soltani, an independent security consultant who has helped develop the Wall Street Journal's ongoing series on electronic privacy.
Franken expects to hold more hearings like these over the coming months. While he didn't anticipate unveiling legislation based on the findings of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said he plans to offer updates to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Unlike many events in the highly-polarized capital these days, the tone was bipartisan. Ranking member Tom Coburn (R-OK) welcomed the hearings but cautioned, "We need a whole lot more information and knowledge before we come to conclusions about what should or needs to be done."
The Minnesota House overwhelmingly passed an ombibus liquor bill today which paves the way for Surly Brewing Company to build a new brewery, tap room and entertainment center in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Surly owners have been lobbying the Minnesota Legislature to allow the company to sell its craft beer on the new site. Bar owners initially balked at the deal but compromised on a plan that would allow a company to have one tap room in the state and would forbid larger scale breweries from having a tap room.
Representative Jennifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, says the $20 million brewery would create 150 permanent jobs and roughly 75 construction jobs.
"This is a complete win win for the state," Loon said. "There are no public dollars involved in this all. This is strictly removing an impediment in our laws that would prevent a private business from expanding their business and operating it in a way they would like."
The proposal still needs to be reconciled with a Senate plan. Surly's owners aren't saying where they intend to build the brewery. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul both say they'd like the brewery to be in their respective cities.