There was hope that a special session would be held as early as today to end the state government shutdown. But that won't happen as Gov. Dayton and the GOP controlled Legilsature continue to try to hammer out the details of the budget bills.
There is agreement on the HHS budget bill. Want to know what's in it? So does the press. Bills haven't been posted yet.
Tidbit: Negotiations are being held in private. The issues are being discussed behind closed doors in a Capitol that is closed to the public.
GOP leaders may be working to ensure they have the votes. Many lawmakers say they're taking a wait and see approach and are concerned about the level of spending in the bills.
Another problem may be MCCL's opposition to the budget.
Tidbit: Two ways the GOP may argue they are "living within their means" is by directing the tobacco borrowing into the Health Care Access Fund and not counting the spending from the K12 school shift. Those two moves account for more than half of the money used to erase the state's $5 billion deficit.
Budget talks have lobbyists on high alert.
Economists are cautious about borrowing against tobacco bonds.
Dayton says there will be no route reductions from transit and no cuts in subsidized health insurance. He says there will be employee lay-offs because of cuts in state agencies.
MinnPost says DFLers are dismayed by the budget deal.
The Star Tribune says some laid off social service workers stayed on the job despite the lack of a paycheck.
The budget deal will likely ease financial pain for the U of M and MnSCU.
Money is tight for some contractors.
President Obama and lawmakers will resume debt talk negotiations today.
Congress is working to find a solution to the debt ceiling fight. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Sen. Al Franken are mentioned.
The debt talks are bringing out strains in the GOP ranks.
Farmers are worried about the cuts to Ag programs.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack hints that he'll oppose efforts to raise the debt ceiling.
Cravaack says his family is moving to New Hampshire. He says he'll spend a day in the district in Saturday and with his family in New Hampshire on Sunday.
Tidbit: Republicans criticized DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar, who lost to Cravaack, for not spending enough time in the district.
A push for a balanced budget amendment by the GOP is short on details.
President Obama picked the ex-Attorney General of Ohio to head the consumer financial protection bureau.
Klobuchar asks Delta to reconsider its decision to drop flights to 24 cities.
The health care law encourages collaboration but some antitrust concerns are there.
Race for Congress
DFL Rep. Tim Walz doubles his 2012 war chest.
Race for President
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is in Iowa and South Carolina today. Tim Pawlenty is in Iowa.
Bachmann plans to sign a pledge that refuses to raise the debt limit unless certain conditions are met.
AP says going after GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has its risks.
AP also takes a look at the fundraising reports to determine the viability of the candidates.
The L.A. Times says the GOP candidates spent money to make money.
The New York Times says Pawlenty struggled to raise money nationwide.
The New York Times takes a look at Bachmann's push to ban same sex marriage in MN.
Bachmann officially left her church at the request of the pastor.
Bachmann campaigned in Iowa over the weekend. She said Ames is "Ground Zero" for 2012.
Pawlenty talks with Bloomberg's Al Hunt.
He says the U.S. should pay outside creditors before the U.S. military.
Pawlenty's campaign manager tries to reassure the staff that the campaign isn't tanking.
The Des Moines Register quotes a GOP operative who says the Iowa Straw poll is only critical for one candidate: Tim Pawlenty.
Former Gov. Arne Carlson, who says he's still a Republican, wrote an op-ed in the Des Moines Register criticizing Pawlenty's accounting tricks to balance Minnesota's budget.
Tidbit: It's interesting that Pawlenty claimed the shutdown but said little about the final budget deal.
ThinkProgress reports that Pawlenty rips Freddie Mac while his campaign co-chair lobbies for Freddie Mac.
Evangelicals are urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to get in the race.
AP says Perry's credentials are as conservative as they come.
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani is hinting at a possible run.(2 Comments)
It's the 18th day of Minnesota's government shutdown. Governor Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are still working out the details of the final budget deals. Little is known about what's in the legislation. Reporters aren't allowed into the meetings. The Capitol is closed to the public so lobbyists and special interest groups are also shut out of negotiations. Governor Dayton's spokeswoman, Andrea Mokros, says the Capitol is closed because of the shutdown and is unlikely to be opened until the Legislature convenes in a special session. When asked if Dayton intended to open the State Capitol before the Legislature goes into special session, Mokros replied "At this point, No."
Meanwhile, committee chairs continue to meet with commissioners to hash out the details of a budget. Dayton and GOP leaders reached agreement on a budget framework but that agreement now has to be shaped into bill form. GOP Sen. David Hann says there is a handshake agreement on the Health and Human Services budget bill, but few details have been released. The language on that bill will be sent to the revisor. Dayton and GOP leaders will then have to sign off on the language.
There's no word on whether the bills will be made available to the public after there's official agreement on each budget bill or whether the information will be posted online after there's agreement on the entire budget.
All of the players involved continue to say they're "hard at work" and are "making progress."
Meanwhile, 22,000 state employees are still laid off, several private businesses, including Canterbury Park Horse Track and Giants Ridge Golf Course, are closed and transportation projects across Minnesota are still moth-balled.
Dayton had said he wanted to call a special session as early as today but that isn't happening and it's becoming less likely that a special session will be happen on Tuesday either.
WASHINGTON - The news that Rep. Chip Cravaack's family intends to move to New Hampshire while Cravaack continues to represent Minnesota's 8th Congressional District has spread fast. The story has been picked up by a number of non-Minnesota news outlets.
Now, New Hampshire's Democrats have offered their own mocking welcome to the first term Republican.
"It's a pleasure to congratulate Rep. Chip Cravaack on relocating his family to New Hampshire since there is little doubt he will soon be retiring here permanently," said Ray Buckley, who runs the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
Cravaack unexpectedly won his seat last year, defeating longtimer DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar. Recapturing the seat is a major priority for state and national Democrats.
Cravaack says his family is moving because his wife, Traci, recently received a promotion at work and is now working from Boston. The couple has two small children who were being cared for by baby-sitters during the week.
Cravaack plans to split his weekends between Minnesota and New Hampshire and spend the congressional work week (often Monday night through Thursday) in Washington.
The first details of the budget agreement between Governor Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are starting to emerge.
Dayton and GOP legislative leaders have signed off on two budget bills - the transportation funding bill and the public safety and judiciary finance bill. Both of those bills and the spreadsheets are posted online here. Both Dayton and GOP leaders are still working on the details of seven other budget bills.
The two bills make some cuts and rely on one-time money. The Metropolitan Council faces a $51 million cut for transit programs which is less than half of what Republicans were proposing. The Met Council is expected to absorb some of those cuts by backfilling money from a five-county metro sales tax for transit programs and the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax.
The Public Safety Budget bill makes a 5 percent cut to the Department of Human Rights, makes a 6.7 percent cut to legal aid and cuts $500,000 to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. There is a five percent increase in funding for the state's public defenders.
The public safety budget bill also takes money from special accounts, like training for police officers and fire fighters, to balance the state's budget. It also requires prison inmates to pay higher health insurance co-payments.
The governor says he intends to call a special session once he and GOP legislative leaders sign off on the details on all of the budget bills. State government will remain shut down until the budget bills are signed into law.(1 Comments)
Gov. Dayton and GOP legislative leaders continue to iron out their differences on the budget. Two of the budget bills have been posted (Public Safety/Judiciary and Transportation). Several other bills, including Environment and Higher Education could be posted as early as tonight. Health and Human Services, State Government and Jobs and Economic Development are also being processed and waiting for final review. Taxes, K12 and Bonding are still being negotiated.
Meanwhile, the Capitol is literally under a lot of stress. Staffers spent part of the day on Monday covering desks, the podium and other furniture because condensation is forming on the ceiling and the lights in the chamber. The conditions were caused by the extreme temperatures and humidity in the Twin Cities.
Gov. Dayton ordered that the Minnesota State Capitol be opened to the public tomorrow morning at 9am. The announcement came from a news release issued by Dayton's office. It said he was opening the Capitol doors "to allow public access and transparency as the Legislature prepares to reconvene to pass a budget."
Dayton and GOP legislative leaders have been heavily criticized by lobbyists, Common Cause MN and others for negotiating a budget deal behind closed doors. Most, if not all, of the budget negotiations has occurred when the State Capitol was locked to the public. The Capitol was locked after the state government shutdown started on July 1.
Dayton's staff, his staff and agency heads, state lawmakers and staff and members of the Capitol Press Corps were given access to the building. No one else was allowed inside.
Governor Dayton is expected to call a special session in the coming days so the Legislature can pass a budget and end a state government shutdown that is in its third week.
With MPR's Alex Friedrich:
The husband of Minnesota Senate President Michelle Fischbach is asking his organization's constituents to pressure legislators to reinstate one or more pro-life measures stripped by Gov. Mark Dayton as a condition of the budgetary framework agreement reached last week.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a group opposed to legalized abortion, sent out an action alert urging its members to contact lawmakers about the budget bill. Scott Fischbach is the executive director of the organization. The group issued an e-mail blast to thousands of supporters criticizing the budget deal and urging supporters to reinstate the cloning ban in the Higher Education bill.
Allowing the budget deal to go forward, the alert states, "means that an existing prohibition on taxpayer funding of human cloning would not continue, and for the first time since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers would lose an existing pro-life state policy. ... In 2009, pro-lifers across the state worked tirelessly and were successful in implementing a two-year ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning. This year, if the Legislature doesn't reauthorize the ban, taxpayers will be forced to pay for cloning."
It also warned that "protecting pain-capable unborn children" and ending taxpayer funding of abortion were off the table.
MCCL's criticism of the GOP controlled Legislature is interesting since many Republican members are in line with the organization's efforts to put added restrictions on legalized abortion. But it's also intriguing since Fischbach is married to Senate President Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville). Sen. Fischbach chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee and is chief author of the Senate's Higher Education budget bill.
So would Scott Fischbach scuttle a deal that his wife, as a GOP leader, would normally have to back?
"We just want to hang on to the current law that we have," he said. "We want to urge (legislators) to keep the ban on taxpayer-funded cloning."
And what does Michelle Fischbach have to say about this? Does she support him? And would she still introduce the new higher-education bill - stripped of abortion and cloning policy -- despite MCCL's effort against it?
The MCCL chief wouldn't say, when reached by cell phone.
"You'll have to ask her," he said. "We don't come home at night and start talking at this bill and that bill. She does her thing and I do mine. "
Dayton stripped, among others, the anti-cloning and taxpayer-funding-of-abortions elements from the budgeting bill, calling them policy issues that did not belong in a financial bill. His plea to remove all policy provisions from the legislation was a major factor in reaching a budget deal last week.
But Scott Fischbach said that's just "spin." Those elements do indeed involve taxpayer dollars and so belong in a budget bill.
Yet when reminded that his wife is a Republican leader, he said, "No ... she was not part of that negotiation (for a framework agreement) ... at all."
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo), he said, was responsible for taking the pro-life elements off the table.
"She agreed with the governor to get rid of all the social issues," he said.
And a lot of Republicans, he said, "don't like this plan."
Dayton and lawmakers are working out the final details of the budget. The governor is expected to call a special session once the two sides agree to the wording in all nine budget bills.
Michelle Fischbach was in caucus and not immediately available to comment.
(Chris Van Guilder, communications specialist for the Senate Republican caucus, said he would relay a message.)