Posted at 12:12 AM on May 22, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: MN Legislature
The House voted mostly along party lines, 70-62, to put a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
The votes followed five hours of debate, some of the most personal in memory. But, as Republicans had promised, they had the support to join the Senate in voting to put the measure on the ballot.
Aisle crossers included four Republicans voting against: John Kriesel, of Cottage Grove; Tim Kelly, of Red Wing; Steve Smith, of Mound; and Rich Murray of Albert Lea. DFLers Denise Dittrich, of Champin, and Lyle Koenen, of Clara City, voted yes, parted with their caucus to vote yes.
Here's a roll call.
The Minnesota House has approved a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. Voters in the 2012 election will now decide whether the definition of marriage should be defined as "one man and one woman" in the Minnesota Constitution.
Republicans Steve Smith, Rich Murray, Tim Kelly and John Kriesel voted against the amendment. Democrats Lyle Koenen and Denise Dittrich voted for it. Democrats David Dill and Bobby Jo Champion did not vote. Read the Roll Call here.
Tidbit: Take a look at the Twitter feed of MPR's Tim Nelson to get a feel for what was said during the debate.
The campaign has already started on the amendment. Minnesota United For All Families was organized to work against the passage of the amendment.
The Minnesota Family Council and the Catholic Church are expected to campaign heavily to convince voters to pass the amendment.
MPR's News Cut blog takes a look at how the ad campaign could look in Minnesota by posting ads that ran in Maine.
The House vote came just one day after a controversial pastor was allowed to give the Friday morning prayer before the House. The prayer prompted GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers to make a rare apology from the House floor.
The GOP scrubbed mention of the prayer in the House Journal.
Gov. Dayton has a 2pm meeting scheduled with GOP legislative leaders.
The House and Senate are holding rare Sunday floor sessions.
The two sides are still far apart on a budget deal. Dayton says the GOP is not moving on revenue. The GOP says Dayton isn't negotiating the particulars of the budget they sent him (which he says he'll veto).
Several GOP lawmakers started preparing for a government shutdown by proposing "lights on" bills that would keep government running beyond July 1.
Tidbit: Lawmakers are saying they think a budget deal can still be reached but the oxygen has been sucked out of negotiations since Tuesday.
Hospital officials and other educators say cuts in the Health and Human Services budget bill could lead to a doctor shortage in rural Minnesota.
The House passed a bill that would require voters to present photo identification in order to vote. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Dayton who has suggested that he will veto it.
The Legislaure is also sending two bills to Gov. Dayton that would restrict abortion. His veto is likely and the House and Senate don't have enough support for an override.
The House failed to pass a bonding bill that focused on flood mitigation.
The owner of the St. Paul Saints says he's hopeful for a new stadium for his team.
Under the Dome
The Star Tribune reports that MPR may have to compete for Legacy Funding. Full disclosure alert: MPR already receives money from the sales tax collection dedicated to The Arts. Culture, the Environment and the Outdoors.
The PoliGraph says GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers is wrong about professor pay. Zellers has said he misunderstood a story headline he saw about the issue.
The Senate passed an illegal immigration program with little scrutiny.
The Pi Press says some state government workers are preparing to retire.
Race for President
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will not run for president.
The decision means the race could focus mostly on Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty. It could also mean that Republicans could look, as AP suggests, for an alternative like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run. Christie has said he will not run.
Tidbit: Watch Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
South St. Paul won't get its close-up. Gov. Pawlenty will make his official announcement for president in Iowa not his hometown.
The Des Moines Register says GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann may make her announcement when she's in Iowa on Thursday night.
Bachmann is making robocalls into Iowa and South Carolina that focus on President Obama's comments on Israel.
Bachmann spoke in Ohio over the weekend.
Romney will be in Iowa on Friday.
Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman campaigned in New Hampshire.
A GOP presidential debate is scheduled to be held in Iowa - just a month before the Caucuses.(3 Comments)
This is a map of how the House voted on a measure that sends a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to the ballot in 2012. The measure passed 70-62. Green means a yes vote, red for no, and yellow if the representative didn't vote. Click on an icon to see who the representative is and how they voted. The map was made using Google Fusion Tables.(7 Comments)
Republican legislative leaders emerged from Gov. Mark Dayton's office this afternoon reporting that "nothing big" came from an hour-long meeting.
State lawmakers have until midnight Monday to reach a budget agreement that erases a projected $5 billion deficit. But the two sides remain deeply divided over taxes and spending cuts.
"Whenever we're meeting, whenever we're face to face, that's good for all of us," said House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove. "It's good for finishing on time."
But Zellers and his GOP colleagues still aren't budging on their opposition to any tax increases, or any spending for the next two years beyond an available $34 billion. Dayton insists on raising income taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent to ease the impact of spending cuts.
"We're not going to be raising taxes. We don't believe we need new revenues to solve this budget," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo. "We've got a budget passed, on the governor's desk that lives within our means."
Dayton has also been meeting with GOP committee chairs to discuss individual budget bills. Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, the chair of the House Higher Education committee, said he talked to the governor for about a half hour. He said the areas of concern included a provision in the bill that bans human cloning.
"We don't think it's a problem, but they're going to check with the university (of Minnesota) and see how they feel about it," Nornes said. "Obviously, if there are very strong feelings about it, if it does some negative things to the university, we'd probably look at making a change."
A spokeswoman for the governor offered no immediate comment on the meeting. But House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, confirmed the lack of progress.
"It didn't appear to me that the Republicans were willing to move off of their position, not withstanding Gov. Dayton's willingness on Monday with his significant move," Thissen said. "We haven't seen a single change in six days and that's incredibly frustrating and disappointing."
Thissen also said he remains deeply disappointed by last night's House passage of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages. But Zellers was already moving on.
"That's behind us now," Zellers said.(1 Comments)
Posted at 4:35 PM on May 22, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
Democrats in the Minnesota House have made a more formal protest of Friday's controversial opening prayer by a known anti-gay preacher.
At the opening of today's floor session, Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, announced a "protest and dissent" from members of his caucus. Paymar said Bradlee Dean brought dishonor to the House by violating House rules regarding non-denominational prayers and by making misleading statements about President Obama.
Paymar praised House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, for making a public apology following the incident, but he then criticized the speaker for removing all references to Dean out of the daily journal.
"While your intentions were good, there's no history of the shame that that man caused to this body," Paymar said.
From MPR's Mark Zdechlik...
Tim Pawlenty will be formally launching his campaign for president tomorrow during a town hall meting in Des Moines, Iowa.
To promote the launch Pawlenty 2012 released a web video Sunday. In it, Pawlenty talks about the nation being in big trouble citing unemployment, the size of the debt and the rate of government spending.
"My first campaign stop will be in Iowa and that's where I'm going to begin a campaign that tells the American people the truth," Pawlenty said in the video. "I'm Tim Pawlenty and I'm running for president of the United States. I believe with all of my heart that the challenges we face can be over come."
After his Iowa appearance, Pawlenty heads to Florida for Facebook town hall tomorrow. He'll be in New Hampshire on Thursday.
The chair of the DFL Party will appear at an event in Des Moines with the vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party to criticize Pawlenty. Several Democrats, including the spokeswoman for the DFL Party reacted negatively to Pawlenty's video.
"Tpaw video leaves out that his "solution" for MN was $6.2b deficit & higher prop taxes for 90% of MNs. No room btwn action shots & balloons?," DFL Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie wrote on Twitter.
Here's the video:
Update: The DNC released this web video on Monday morning:
(Reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this report)
The gun rights group, The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, is taking aim at Republicans in the Minnesota Senate for not taking up a bill that would change when it's legal for a person to shoot someone in self defense.
The Minnesota House already passed the bill and supporters were lobbying the Senate to pass it as well. The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance sent out an action alert today that says the Senate has decided to not take up the bill this session.
In a strongly worded e-mail, the group suggests that Senate Republicans "made a deliberate, political decision to refuse to put the bill on Governor Dayton's desk." The e-mail also reminds supporters to tell their Senators that "gun owners vote - and that they have very long memories.
The issue is a dicey political issue for Republicans. On the one hand, the NRA and other gun rights group align themselves more with the GOP. But law enforcement groups have lines up against the bill. Gov. Dayton has also suggested he would veto it.
I contacted spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to see if GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch has decided to shelve the bill for the session.
I'll post their response, if it becomes available. Senate GOP spokesman Michael Brodkorb declined to say whether the caucus is shelving the bill.
Here's part of the e-mail that The Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance sent to supporters:
We have received word that the Republican leadership in the Minnesota Senate has decided to kill The Defense of Dwelling and Person Act by not bringing it to the Senate floor for a vote.(8 Comments)
The Senate leadership did not sacrifice SF 1357 for other priorities. They made a deliberate, political decision to refuse to put the bill on Governor Dayton's desk.
The Senate leadership was not forced into this retreat by the DFL or anti-gun groups. They decided, unilaterally, to give up on this important civil rights legslation.
The Senate leadership did not run out of time. The Senate doesn't have to finish before Monday at midnight. They could still hear the bill if the leadership does their job.
Please call and email the Senate leadership NOW, and respectfully demand that the bill get an immediate hearing.
You might also want to email and call your own senator, especially if he/she is a Republican, with the same message.
Tell them that Minnesota gun owners vote -- and that they have very long memories.
Gov. Mark Dayton held a series of meetings today with conference committee chair to discuss individual budget bills.
The DFL governor also met once with Republican House and Senate leaders, but the discussion made no progress toward an end-of-session budget agreement, and time is running out. Lawmakers face a constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight Monday.
Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said he spent about 50 minutes in Dayton's office discussing the large health and human services bill. Abeler said it was a friendly discussion, but there were no breakthroughs on spending or policy.
"He seems to think he's going to get $1.8 billion from the people of Minnesota, and I believe he is not going to get that," Abeler said.
Abeler said there's no doubt that the Legislature will have to return for a special session, but GOP leaders were still claiming that an agreement could be reached in time.
House Democrats took issue with with GOP leaders adjourning Sunday night's floor session earlier than they expected. Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said there's still a lot of work left.
"We are nowhere close to passing a budget that will get signed into law," Winkler said. "We're adjourning early with no plan to get this session wrapped up, with no plan to get any work done between now tomorrow evening frankly. It just looks like this session is going to end in disaster."(4 Comments)
Supporters and opponents of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage are now organizing with the hopes that their message will be the one to sway voters in the 2012 election.
The Minnesota House voted in favor of the measure over the weekend so voters in the 2012 election will now determine whether the state's constitution should be amended to define marriage "as between one man and one woman."
Both sides say they're preparing for a media campaign that could cost several million dollars. State law already bans same sex marriage but supporters of the amendment worry a court will overturn that law.
Tom Prichard, with the Minnesota Family Council, says supporters of the amendment will work to tell voters to protect what he calls the "institution of marriage."
"This is about the institution of marriage and why it's fundamental to society," Prichard said. "This is not changing state law in any way. It's basically protecting our existing law in the constitution."
Critics of the amendment say they believe the measure would put discrimination into the state constitution.
Ann Kaner-Roth with the GLBT rights group, Project 515, says she expects millions of dollars will be spent on paid media like radio and TV ads. She said she's confident that Minnesota will be the first state to defeat a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
"We are now moving in the direction of creating an environment where the majority of the electorate is voting on the rights of the minority and that is not what the constitution is meant for," Kaner-Roth said.
The constitution would be amended if a majority of those voting in the 2012 election vote in favor of the question.
31 states have passed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Arizona is the only state where voters defeated an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and any legal equivalent. But voters later approved the amendment after the wording was changed to remove the words "any legal equivalent."
Minnesota's proposal would not ban such legal equivalents like civil unions.
(MPR's Rupa Shenoy contributed to this report)
There is less than 18 hours left for the Minnesota Legislature to reach a budget deal with Gov. Dayton. It's all but certain a special session will be called to pass a two-year budget that erases a $5 billion projected budget deficit. The key question is when Gov. Dayton decides to call lawmakers back for a special session. State government would shut down on July 1 if a budget isn't signed into law.
GOP legislative leaders met privately with Gov. Dayton on Sunday but are no closer to reaching a budget deal.
Pessimism is growing among some lawmakers.
Tidbit: Dayton, GOP legislative leaders and other lawmakers will be on MPR's Midday today from 11am-1pm.
A conference committee debating the merits of the Legacy Amendment funds included an amendment that says no funds will be distributed until there's a budget agreement.
Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage
Groups started preparing for the 2012 ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage. Both sides expect millions to be spent on the campaign.
Democrats in the Minnesota House continue to protest the cleansing of Friday's prayer flap.
Stand your ground bill
A gun rights group is criticizing Senate Republicans for not taking up a bill that would change when it's legal for a person to shoot someone in self defense. A spokesman for the Senate GOP would not say if Senate Republicans are shelving the bill for the year.
Members of the Minnesota National Guard are saying good-bye to families as they prepare to head back to Iraq. Check out MPR's series, The Red Bulls Return to War.
A sendoff was held at Fort Snelling on Sunday.
Race for President
Tim Pawlenty will officially launch his campaign for president today at a town hall in Des Moines.
Pawlenty released a video on Sunday night previewing his announcement.
He also released a morning editorial in USA Today.
Politico says Mitch Daniels' decision to not not run couldn't come at a better time for Pawlenty.
Democrats are already criticizing Pawlenty in a web video. DFL Party Chair Ken Martin will also be in Iowa today to react to Pawlenty's town hall.
AP says Democrats are meddling in the slow-starting GOP primary.
MinnPost writes about what GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is thinking about as she prepares to run for president.