Welcome to the Daily Digest, where Dayton announces two health care task forces, Kline criticizes Obama's student loan plans, and Cain reels from a day of news about sexual harassment accusations and a potential violation of campaign rules.
Gov. Mark Dayton has started two health care task forces.
The state's doctors are pleased with President Barack Obama's latest efforts to deal with drug shortages.
U of M president Eric Kaler's speech from Dayton's jobs summit can be found on MPR's On Campus blog.
State Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazzeppa has endorsed Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, who's aiming to unseat U.S. DFL Rep. Tim Walz.
The DFL has hired an executive Director and an outreach director.
The DFL will endorse a candidate to run for Sen. Larry Pogemiller's seat on Dec. 7, the day after the primary election.
The Post-Bulletin says former Gov. Arne Carlson is the best governor the state has seen in recent history.
Rep. John Kline spoke with Fox News Monday morning about President Barack Obama's efforts to change student loan rules without going to Congress.
Lawmakers get flack for missing votes, but it's not uncommon among members of Congress.
On the Campaign Trail
Rep. Michele Bachmann released a list of 64 people who are helping her win in Iowa.
UPI reports that Bachmann is popular among Iowa's Republican voters despite dropping in the Iowa Poll.
Meanwhile, Bachmann's former campaign manager Ed Rollins told ABC News that she's "out of money and ideas," and said that Iowa is out of her reach at this point.
The Concord Monitor games out Bachmann's prospects in Iowa.
Herman Cain had a tough day Monday. Questions about sexual harassment allegations continued during a Fox News appearance and speeches at the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club. He started the day denying the charges.
But in an interview last night with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, he detailed the accusations.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on an outside group that appears to have spent thousands on goods and services for the Cain campaign - a potential violation of campaign and tax law.
On a separate note, Cain has hired Iowa GOP operative Steve Grubbs. After his first place finish in the Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll announced Saturday, it looks like Cain will be spending more time in that state.
Two Republican lawmakers who oversee the state's Legacy Amendment money say they think other funding sources should be considered to finance a new Vikings stadium.
Some GOP lawmakers have suggested using up to $60 million a year from the Arts and Culture portion of the Legacy Fund to pay for a stadium. The money comes from a higher sales tax approved by voters in 2008.
Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen and Republican Representative Dean Urdahl say it's a bad idea to spend the money on a stadium.
"In 2011, I was given the privilege to serve as the chair the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee," Ingebrigtsen said in an op-ed. "I vowed that I would do all I can to uphold the constitution and do what voters intended in 2008 and not raid the Legacy funds to offset our $5 billion deficit. We were able to stay true to the voters' intentions and passed legislation that mirrored their intent. However, the temptation to raid dedicated funds may have returned.
Recently, there have been rumblings in the media that Legacy funds from the arts portion of the amendment may be used to contribute to a new Vikings stadium. As chair of the committee that provides oversight for the Legacy funds, I adamantly oppose this and will vote against any proposal designed to use them."
Urdahl told MPR News that he's encouraging legislative leaders to look at other options.
"In this business you never say never about anything," Urdahl said. "But it should be something that we should put way down on our list. I think there are other better ways to do it."
Urdahl chairs the Legacy Funding Committee in the House. Governor Dayton is planning to release his Vikings stadium plan next week. He hopes to call a special session for the week of November 21st to address the Vikings stadium issue.(2 Comments)
State officials moved a bit closer today to the launch of a major renovation of Minnesota Capitol building.
Gov. Mark Dayton and other members of the Capitol Preservation Commission approved spending up to
$150 million $150,000 for pre-design work for the project. The panel also adopted guiding principles for the renovation that focus on architectural integrity, building function and safety. Lawmakers have not yet approved the full project, which is estimated to cost more than $200 million. Dayton says the cost is daunting, but he says the current deterioration of the Capitol is adding urgency to the discussion.
"It will be more expensive to do it five years or 10 years from now," Dayton said. "That's a guarantee. So if we do it, let's do it right and do it in a way that is as much as we can foresee will put it in the kind of condition for the next 100 years that the people of Minnesota for the next 100 years would expect of us."
Legislators have come close to approving Capitol renovations before, but House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, says he now believes there is the political will to follow through with the project.
Here's a May 2011 report that details the problems at the Capitol:2 Comments)
Gov. Dayton and the four legislative leaders say there isn't support in the Legislature to exempt Ramsey County or Minneapolis from holding a referendum on a sales tax increase to pay for the Vikings stadium.
Officials on both sides of the river had proposed a sales tax increase to help pay for the new stadium. Ramsey County proposed a half cent sales tax increase to raise $350 million for a $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said a sales tax increase of 0.35 percent in Minneapolis could help pay for a stadium on one of three sites in his city. Rybak, however, also proposed a downtown casino as a way to raise the city's share of the stadium.
Dayton says he is "now actively assessing and discussing with the team other financing options." He plans to release his own stadium proposal next week and wants to call a special session for the week of Nov. 21.
Here's the statement from Dayton, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers, GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk:
Statement on Vikings Stadium talks
Saint Paul--At last Friday's meeting of Legislative Leaders: Senators Amy Koch, Julie Rosen, Terri Bonoff, and Richard Cohen; Speaker Kurt Zellers; Representatives Morrie Lanning, Paul Thissen, and Terry Morrow; with Governor Dayton and Chairman Ted Mondale, the consensus among the legislative leadership was that there was not sufficient support in either body to exempt Ramsey County or the City of Minneapolis from holding a referendum on increasing a local sales tax to finance a Vikings stadium. The participants requested the weekend to assess that conclusion.
Today, Governor Dayton and the Leaders of the Republican and DFL Caucuses in the House and Senate reaffirm that there is not majority support in either body for an exemption from a voter referendum. Without such an exemption, the earliest either Ramsey County or the City of Minneapolis could conduct a referendum would be in conjunction with the November 2012 General Election.
Governor Dayton said, "Last Friday's meeting was very significant in eliminating one proposed source of financing for a People's Stadium in either Ramsey County or Minneapolis, unless the Vikings are willing to endure the time delay and continuing uncertainty in obtaining voters' approval. Given this reality, we are now actively assessing and discussing with the team other financing options."
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WASHINGTON - The leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, including DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, have missed a self-imposed deadline of Nov. 1 to present their bipartisan plan for reducing agriculture spending by $23 billion over the next decade.
A spokeswoman for the Republican staff of the House Agriculture Committee told MPR News that as of Tuesday afternoon, the majority and minority leaders of both committees have not yet reached a final agreement. She did not know if an agreement was imminent.
Last month, the leadership of the agriculture committees in both chambers had taken it on themselves to offer the cuts to programs under their jurisdiction as a means of heading off potentially deeper reductions from the special Congressional deficit reduction committee tasked with making at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by Thanksgiving.
In a brief conversation with MPR News last week, Peterson confirmed that he was working on what would amount to a re-authorization of the five year farm bill along with Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), that committee's ranking member.
The group is hoping that the deficit super committee will adopt their recommendations and offer their hastily-written farm bill as a component of the overall deficit reduction plan that Congress must vote on before Christmas. Under the super committee's special rules, the panel's proposals cannot be amended and can pass with a simple majority, unlike many bills in the Senate, which now require 60 votes to proceed.
Passing a farm bill through the super committee framework thus offers an expedited track with minimal debate, something that surely must appeal to the heads of both agriculture committees as liberals and conservatives have complained about farm spending in recent years.
Published reports indicate that the quartet plans to eliminate direct payments to farmers but will create a new "shallow loss" subsidy program that would make up a portion of a farmer's income if crop prices fall. The group may also make changes to the crop insurance program, which has become increasingly important to farmers.
One Washington-based farm lobbyist contacted by MPR News suggested that the lack of an announcement, or even background details from committee staff, suggested that there was likely a major disagreement among the four lawmakers that was blocking the way forward.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar has hired Justin Buoen to run her 2012 reelection campaign. Klobuchar promoted Buoen last week. He most recently served as Klobuchar's deputy campaign manager. He started working for Klobuchar's campaign in 2005.
"Justin started with me 6 years ago organizing parades and since then he has become a critical member of my team," Klobuchar said in a statement. "Justin knows our state well and he is uniquely qualified to lead our campaign at this time."
Klobuchar is running for her second term in office. Several Republicans have lined up to run against her. They include former state Rep. Dan Severson, St. Bonifacius city council member Joe Arwood and St. Paul resident Anthony Hernandez. Neither of those candidates currently have the statewide name identification or campaign war chest to mount an effective campaign but all three argue that Klobuchar can be beaten.
Buoen says he and Klobuchar are taking nothing for granted in 2012.
"We have to be ready," Buoen said. "Sen. Klobuchar is committed to working hard."