MPR is reporting that there is increasing talk among Republicans in the House and Senate that the Arts and Cultural Heritage money raised from Legacy Amendment money should be used to pay for the Vikings stadium.
WCCO takes a look at why Gov. Dayton wants a "Walk Away clause" in the Vikings stadium deal.
Fox9 says two lawmakers hold a news conference today to urge the Vikings to take the Metrodome for $1. The Vikings rejected the idea.
The city of Foley will hire a private security firm to patrol city streets. City officials say they made the move because of state budget cuts.
Minnesota's jobless rate dropped to 6.9% but employers cut 7,400 jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate also dropped slightly.
MPR profiles Kathy Tunheim - an unelected, unpaid adviser to Gov. Dayton on job creation.
Gov. Dayton spoke to the Duluth Chamber of Commerce on Thursday night.
The Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board voted Thursday to cut in half the amount to be given back to taconite plants for reinvestment in their infrastructure.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jessen says the state will save $240 million from competitive bidding on managed care contracts.
The feds found invasive carp DNA in the Twin Cities - which could spark a political battle on how to handle the fish.
Dayton also riled up union members at the Education Minnesota conference.
Draw the Line Minnesota submitted a redistricting plan that shakes up the state's political boundaries.
The Senate voted to block votes on the Jobs bill.
The Washington Post's Fact-Checker said Vice-President Biden's claims on rising rape rates is false.
The federal government released rules on how the federal health care law will work.
The Washington Post reports that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's compelling family story embellishes facts.
Tidbit: Rubio is considered a possible candidate for vice-president
DFL Sen. Al Fanken successfully attached an amendment to a bill that would change the No Child Left Behind standards. Franken says the measure would better gauge student results.
GOP Rep. John Kline says he'll support efforts to bar the EPA from regulating farm dust.
Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's dictator for 42 years until he was ousted in an uprising-turned-civil war, was killed Thursday.
U.S. Senate Race
Republican Dan Severson tells the St. Cloud Times that he raised $37,500 in the 3rd Quarter.
David Fitzsimmons dropped his bid to be Deputy Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. Fitzsimmons, the 6th District Chair, also served as Tom Emmer's campaign manager in the 2010 election. He sent an e-mail to GOP delegates on Thursday night.
Race for President
Politico says the Iowa landscape tempts Mitt Romney.
The New York Times says Romney will compete in Iowa.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke to the Commonwealth Club of California on Thursday.
Bachmann says the world is better off without Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Bachmann, however, stands by her position that the U.S. should not have had any military involvement in the country.
The Des Moines Register posts five questions with Bachmann.
Bachmann and Rick Santorum hammer Herman Cain on his abortion comments.
Cain tweaked his 9-9-9 plan.
WASHINGTON - Later today, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will join Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood to unveil a new bill to fund transportation spending funded with a surtax on those earning more than $1 million, a key component of President Obama's jobs plan.
The move comes less than a day after another component of that plan, a measure to fund hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters and teachers, also funded by a millionaire tax, was blocked in the Senate by a Republican-led filibuster.
After unveiling his plan last month to combat persistently high unemployment, Obama has campaigned constantly in favor of the bill in the face of stiff Republican resistance. The GOP-controlled House won't take up the measure and Republicans in the Senate also blocked a vote on the bill in its entirety. As a result, Democrats have now decided to split the bill into small pieces and attempt to pass it that way.
The Democrats' strategy also presents plentiful opportunities to try to show the GOP favors the interests of millionaires over urgent infrastructure, education and public safety spending. Republicans are calling the jobs measures another government stimulus program that won't fix the economy.
We'll have more details after the conference call with Reid, Klobuchar and LaHood.
It's a $60 billion bill with $50 billion going to road, rail, airport and other critical transportation projects around the country. Another $10 billion will be used to seed an infrastructure bank, a proposal that's been floating around Washington for awhile. You can read more about the bank here.
Klobuchar described the collapse of the I-35W bridge in 2007 as a wake-up call to the country about the state of its decaying infrastructure.
"We just can't afford to wait any longer whether we're talking about a construction worker looking for a job or a business looking to export to foreign markets, it's clear we need to rebuild our infrastructure," said Klobuchar.
She described infrastructure spending as an area where both parties have long cooperated on and lamented the resistance by Republicans to any proposals of fresh government spending.
"There's no such thing as a Democratic bridge or a Republican bridge or a Democratic water project or a Republican water project," said Klobuchar.
But while Klobuchar may have called for bipartisanship, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was eager to taunt Republicans for resisting any Democratic proposal funded by a tax increase.
"The Senate GOP has had a love affair for many years now with Grover Norquist," said Reid, referring to the anti-tax crusader who's the chief enforcer of the party's no new taxes pledge.
Reid has scheduled a vote on the bill the week of Oct. 31 after the Senate returns from a recess. The measure's prospects are likely dim in the Senate where 60 votes are required to break a filibuster and Democrats have 53 members in their caucus.
Republicans immediately jumped on the proposal.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, yet that's exactly what Senate Democrats are proposing today," said Brian Walsh, the spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "So when taxpayers hear Senator Klobuchar and her fellow liberal Democrats call for even more bloated government stimulus spending it serves as yet another reminder of their broken promises and failed economic policies."
WMUR, a New Hampshire television station, reports that GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann's paid staff in the state have quit "over deep frustration with the campaign's lack of commitment to New Hampshire."
Bachmann has been spending much of her time and resources in Iowa, a state she says is a must-win.
Those staffers include Jeff Chidester, Nicole Yurek, Mattheu LeDuc, Caroline Gigler, and Tom Lukacz, according to the WMUR report.
Here's the rest of the story, which is available by subscription-only through this link.
They stress that this has nothing to do with their devotion to the candidate. In fact, the staff was going to leave the campaign much earlier, but did not because they felt it wasn't the best for the candidate.
Bachmann came to the state last week for the Dartmouth debate. It was her first trip to New Hampshire since late June, and it was the final straw for the local staff. They felt constantly betrayed and even lied to, one of the staffers said.
In an interview with the New York Times this week, Bachmann said she plans to spend the rest of the primary campaign in Iowa and no other state, except for debates. The New Hampshire Secretary of State's office said it was notified that Bachmann would mail in her application to appear on the ballot and not sign up in person as most candidates do.
It is expected that these staffers will join other campaigns immediately.
MPR News has contacted the Bachmann campaign for confirmation, and will update if we hear back.
Per the Journal:
"Besieged by reports of a staff mutiny, Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian issued a statement late Friday saying, "We have a great team in New Hampshire [and] we have not been notified that anyone is leaving the campaign."(3 Comments)
As a special panel created by Gov. Mark Dayton convened this week to make recommendations on the state's election rules, a group that supports a voter identification law is touting a new report about voter fraud convictions associated with the 2008 election.
"As of August 10th, 2011, 113 individuals are now known to have been convicted for voter fraud committed in 2008," the report from Minnesota Majority, a right-leaning group, states.
Minnesota Majority may be in range, but it is difficult to pin down a precise number.
Minnesota Majority's report largely focuses on felons who were ineligible to vote in the 2008 election, but did anyway. The group argues that the number may be much higher than that, but many who violate election rules avoid punishment if they can prove they did not know they were ineligible to cast a ballot.
The number of convictions represents weaknesses in the state's same-day registration policy, the group contends.
In Hennepin County, 23 people have been convicted of voter fraud and eight cases are pending. In Ramsey County, 36 convictions have resulted from the 2008 elections as of last spring, including cases involving ineligible voters who registered, but who did not end up voting.
PoliGraph also requested voter fraud conviction data for every county in the state. The data, collected by the Minnesota Supreme Court, shows that 144 people have been convicted of voter fraud since 2009.
The Supreme Court numbers are not a perfect comparison to the Minnesota Majority's report because the data include some cases associated with the 2010 election, and are not limited to cases involving felons who voted illegally.
Ramsey County Elections Manager Joe Mansky, who sits on the governor's special committee and is widely considered to be a state expert on voting, said that the vast majority of such cases involve people who have been convicted of a felony, are ineligible to vote, but do anyway.
But these are isolated cases that could not be solved by implementing a voter identification law, he said. And unlike other states, there's no evidence that Minnesota has had large, organized attempts to violate the law, Mansky said.
"This is just individuals acting on their own, with imperfect information, no information," he said.
Furthermore, those who were found to violate the law represent far less than 1 percent of the roughly 2.9 million Minnesotans who voted in the 2008 election.
Based on independent information, it appears that Minnesota Majority's estimate that 113 people have been convicted of voter fraud may be in the ballpark, though a precise number is elusive.
As a result, their claim rates inconclusive.
Minnesota Majority, Felon Voter Fraud Convictions Stemming from Minnesota's 2008 General Election, October 13, 2011
Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota, Facts About Ineligible Voting and Voter Fraud in Minnesota: Based on data from Minnesota County Attorneys, November 2010
In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud, By Eric Lipton and Ian Urbina, April 12, 2007
Voter fraud conviction data, Minnesota Supreme Court, Oct. 20, 2011
Voter fraud conviction data, Hennepin County, Oct. 20, 2011
Interview, Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority, Oct. 20, 2011
Interview, Joe Mansky, Ramsey County Elections Manager, Oct. 21, 2011
Interview, John Kingrey, Executive Director, Minnesota County Attorneys Association, Oct. 20, 2011(6 Comments)
Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign is pushing back on a swirl of reports that her paid staff in New Hampshire has quit.
Bachmann's campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, issued this statement late Friday afternoon.
"We have a great team in New Hampshire and we have not been notified that anyone is leaving the campaign. We look forward to spending more time in the Granite State between now and the primary, but our campaign has emphasized that our main focus is the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and we are continuing to build efforts there. While she will campaign in other states, Michele will spend the majority of her time in Iowa, doing what she does better than all the other candidates - retail politics - leading up to the all important caucuses."
Meanwhile, Bachmann told Radio Iowa Friday that "I don't know if this is just a bad story that's being fed by a different candidate or campaign -- I have no idea where this came from, but we have made calls and it is certainly not true"
Yet Jeff Chidester, Bachmann's New Hampshire campaign manager, told the New York Times that he is leaving.
Other staffers include Nicole Yurek, Mattheu LeDuc, Caroline Gigler, and Tom Lukacz, according to initial report from New Hampshire television station WMUR, which can be found here with a subscription. MPR has not been able to independently confirm their departures.
WMUR reported that the staff quit "over deep frustration with the campaign's lack of commitment to New Hampshire."
Bachmann has been spending much of her time and resources in Iowa, a state that will hold the nation's first caucuses. Bachmann says the state is a must-win. Her platform is especially attractive to Iowa's GOP voters there who tend to be socially conservative.
Meanwhile, she's be spending little time in New Hampshire. Recent surveys in New Hampshire have her polling in the single digits, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is leading the pack there.
Other recent polls show that Bachmann is doing slightly better in Iowa.(1 Comments)
Several members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation have released statements on President Obama's declaration that the war in Iraq will end by the end of the year.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann have all released statements.
I'll post additional statements if/when they come in. (Update: GOP Rep. John Kline and DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar also issued statements. The statements are below)
Here's the statement from Walz:
"The President's announcement today is welcome news and I am pleased this war is coming to an end. We need to reinvest right here in America, pay down our debt and rebuild our roads and bridges at home.
The brave men and women who have served our nation in uniform have done so admirably and I am incredibly proud of them. Now, more than ever, we need to commit ourselves to making sure they are taken care of when they return. We need to redouble our efforts to get them good health care, get them back to work and reintegrated into their lives.
Let us also pay tribute to those soldiers who will not return home and always keep their families in our thoughts and prayers."
Here's the statement from Paulsen:
"This is welcome news for the Minnesota servicemen and women who have been separated from their families -- many on multiple tours of duty. Our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have served bravely and honorably in Iraq, and our country is forever grateful for their service and sacrifice," said Rep. Paulsen. "We also need to remember our troops who continue to serve in harm's way around the world and keep them and their families in our prayers."
Ellison released this statement (along with Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Raul Grijalva):
"The President's announcement is a victory for America and another monumental step toward the end of the disastrous foreign policy of the Bush era. The President is fulfilling a promise to the American people to end this misguided war quickly and responsibly. For nearly a decade, Americans across the country spoke out against this war, and we can now turn the page on history. This is a long overdue victory for not just the people of Iraq, but the Progressive movement.
"As the President fulfills his promise to our country, we must also fulfill our promise to our veterans by ensuring that they and their families receive the benefits they have earned and deserve."
Here's a statement from Bachmann (which was released through her campaign for president):
"Today's announcement that we will remove all of our forces from Iraq is a political decision and not a military one; it represents the complete failure of President Obama to secure an agreement with Iraq for our troops to remain there to preserve the peace and demonstrates how far our foreign policy leadership has fallen. In every case where the United States has liberated a people from dictatorial rule, we have kept troops in that country to ensure a peaceful transition and to protect fragile growing democracies. We will now have fewer troops in Iraq than we have in Honduras - despite a costly and protracted war.
"President Obama's decision represents the end of the era of America's influence in Iraq and the strengthening of Iran's influence in Iraq with no plan to counter that influence. We have been ejected from a country by the people that we liberated and that the United States paid for with precious blood and treasure. The administration claims that we got exactly what we needed, but today's announcement demonstrates otherwise. The United States needed a working democratic partnership in Iraq and we should have demanded that Iraq repay the full cost of liberating them given their rich oil revenues. I call on the president to return to the negotiating table with Iraq and lead from the front and not from weakness in Iraq and in the world."
Here's Kline's statement:
"Without the tireless efforts from our brave sons and daughters in uniform, the drawdown of our troops that started under President Bush and continues under President Obama could not have happened. Minnesota should be proud of its National Guard, whose Red Bulls have played such a pivotal role in 'Iraqi Freedom.' And we must never forget our nation's heroes, those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom. While the progress made has been significant, we must remember we remain at war against Islamist extremists and we continue to keep our troops and their families in our prayers."
Here's Klobuchar's statement:
"I have long supported a military policy in Iraq that focuses on the responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops and the transfer of authority to the Iraqi government. Our troops have shown tremendous courage to get us to this point. The mission of our Minnesota National Guard troops in Kuwait and Iraq to bring our soldiers and equipment home from Iraq is the right one."