MPR is reporting that Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature will openly challenge local school district levies over the next few months. House Education Chair Pat Garofalo says he hopes his campaign will also discourage some school districts from even requesting a levy increase.
Tidbit: The unprecedented move shows that Republicans are concerned that they will be blamed for the financial woes of schools. It also highlights the coming election battle over property taxes.
MinnPost says the House GOP is using an accounting trick to claim that schools are seeing a big bump in pay.
The Pi Press says schools are waiting to see how Congress changes the rules regarding the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Under the Dome
The shutdown slowed tax collections.
Tidbit: House and Senate Republicans are a bit worried that the November forecast won't be pretty.
The Minnesota House made changes to their committee structure. GOP Rep. Steve Smith is out as chair of the House Judiciary Committee. The committee will become a subdivision of the House Public Safety Committee. GOP Rep. Tom Hackbarth, who was suspended and then quit his role as committee chair last year, gets a gavel on an Energy Subcommittee.
Gov. Dayton holds a meeting today to discuss efforts to keep Asian Carp out of Minnesota waters.
Dayton held an economic round table in Brainerd on Friday. He's on the Iron Range and Faribault this week.
State Senators talked about jobs in St. Cloud on Friday.
MPR says a Zebra mussel research project is a long shot for Legacy funds.
The Redistricting Panel scheduled public hearings across Minnesota.
Tidbit: Southeastern MN is noticeably absent from the schedule.
Same-sex marriage ballot initiative
Richard Carlbom, a spokesman for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman who also managed DFL Rep. Tim Walz's 2010, will lead the effort to defeat the ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage.
A nation remembers.
Minnesota remembered the attacks.
A forest fire in the BWCA has grown to 4,500 acres.
President Obama will submit his jobs plan to Congress today.
Politico says Republicans are looking to pass bits and pieces of Obama's plan but privately say they don't want to give him "a win."
NPR has a look at corporate taxes.
The Washington Post says the current capital gains tax rates are helping the wealthy more than lower income Americans.
The Postal Service is working to avoid a default.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz says he supports the infrastruture spending in President Obama's bill.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum says Congress should pass the transportation bill.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack did not attend President Obama's speech last week.
Cravaack was one of several members of Congress who recorded a video message remembering 9/11.
Race for Congress
Democrats are in danger of losing a seat vacated by Democrat Anthony Weiner.
AP says GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack is preparing for a tough race in 2012.
Tidbit: Democrat Tarryl Clark declined to be interviewed for a story that gave a general overview of the race.
Race for Legislature
The primaries for the Minnesota Senate seats in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park are held tomorrow.
Race for President
Tim Pawlenty announced on Fox and Friends this morning that he's backing Mitt Romney for president.
A new CNN national poll shows Rick Perry leading his rivals.
Politico says Perry has enjoyed lavish trips and other perks during his time as governor.
Mitt Romney released a video today saying President Obama is linked to organized labor.
Michele Bachmann's campaign says Bachmann will go on offense tonight. She will highlight her differences with Texas Gov. Rick Perry at tonight's debate in Florida.
Bachmann will appear on NBC's Tonight Show on Friday.
She also met with Iowa and Iowa State fans on Saturday.
The Des Moines Register says Bachmann is depending on Iowa now more than ever.
A Florida evangelical leader is backing Perry over Bachmann.
The L.A. Times says Floridians are considering Perry's statements on Social Security.
A Pro Bachmann PAC will air an ad hitting Perry on illegal immigration.
R.T. Rybak is now a vice chair of the DNC.
MPR's Catharine Richert has agreed to do The Daily Digest twice a week (Tues and Thurs) so expect to read her byline a bit more in this space. She's awesome and is helping someone who is a bit fatigued from doing the morning roundup.
Tidbit: You can follow Richert, who starts her Daily Digest duties tomorrow, on Twitter.
A few people have asked if the Digest can be sent in e-mail form. Sign up for that here.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who dropped his bid for the White House last month, announced today that he's backing Mitt Romney for president. Pawlenty first announced the endorsement on Fox and Friends this morning.
"Romney is running for president because he is deeply committed to our country, troubled by its current condition, and I believe he can turn it around," Pawlenty wrote in an e-mail to supporters.
The move will help Romney more with campaign structure and prospective donors. Pawlenty spent months building a national campaign structure. The support never materialized in grass-roots support for Pawlenty but could help open up more connections to Romney.
Pawlenty will also serve as national co-chair to Mitt Romney.
The Pawlenty endorsement could also help Romney in Iowa, should the former governor of Massachusetts decide to make a play to win the Iowa Caucuses. Pawlenty had a strong network of donors and campaign staff in that state.
The move is also a slight to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann since Pawlenty and Bachmann both hail from Minnesota.
Romney has been looking to reclaim momentum since Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race. Perry has been leading in recent national polls.
Pawlenty's announcement comes on the same day that the GOP candidates will meet in a debate in Florida. Pawlenty has been active in raising money in Florida since he's been governor.
Here's part of the e-mail from Pawlenty (full e-mail can be read here):
Romney is running for president because he is deeply committed to our country, troubled by its current condition, and I believe he can turn it around.(3 Comments)
He's formulated an economic plan-a set of alternatives to the government-oriented programs that Barack Obama has put in place-that is unparalleled in the history of American electoral campaigns. By pressing for fundamental change in the way that Washington taxes and spends, issues regulations, uses energy, interacts with our major trading partners, and deals with our labor force, he fully envisions a way to place America back on the path toward rapid economic growth and full employment.
And at his core, Mitt Romney is a man of great character. He and his wife Ann have been married for more than four decades. She is the love of his life. Together, they have five sons and sixteen grandchildren.
But he's not only a family man, he is a man of principle. He believes in the bedrock conservative ideals of limited government and free enterprise. He will stand up for America's allies when they are threatened, with fortitude. And he will face down our adversaries. He is a formidable person, and he will certainly be a formidable president. Our allies can count on it, and our enemies should expect it.
Crises indeed produces great leaders. Sometimes it just takes awhile.
I am proud to stand with Mitt. Will you join me?
Rick Nolan, a DFL candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, picked up a key endorsement today. Former Eveleth Mayor and long-time Minnesota state Rep. Joe Begich backed Nolan's bid. The endorsement will carry some weight on the Iron Range, a DFL stronghold that could determine the DFL nominee.
"With unemployment across the Range and throughout the Eighth District in double digits, with hardworking middle class families losing jobs and homes and hope, Iron Rangers need a leader and a champion again in Washington, and Rick Nolan's the one," Begich said in a news release.
Nolan, who served in Congress between 1975-1981, is vying for the DFL endorsement against former state Sen. Tarryl Clark and Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson. The eventual nominee is hoping to challenge GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack. Cravaack is serving in his first-term after his surprising upset of DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar.
One outstanding question is whether Nolan or Cravaack will live in the 8th. The courts are expected to release new set of political maps in February that will change the makeup of the state's eight congressional districts.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus is in Minnesota today to hold private fundraisers for the RNC and the Minnesota Republican Party. Priebus held a briefing with reporters this afternoon to emphasize that he believes Minnesota will play a factor in the 2012 presidential race.
"Make no mistake about it, Minnesota will be a battleground state in 2012," Priebus said over and over. "I believe Barack Obama will lose here in 2012."
Priebus is bullish that his party will defeat President Obama in 2012 but Republicans have to pick a candidate first.
The true test, however, will be to see if Priebus is right about Minnesota voting for a Republican candidate for president. The RNC Chairs that have preceded Preibus have been wrong about similar predictions since 1972.