Posted at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate will pick a new majority leader on Dec. 27.
MPR News has a few more details on Michael Brodkorb's firing.
AP does a national takeout on the Koch matter.
Dayton declined to address Koch's situation to WCCO. He did, however, criticize Republicans for making a "sanctity of marriage argument."
Today's Senate Rules Committee hearing was canceled. It was meant to address the Senate budget.
Under the Dome
MPR says the director of the LCCMR has been fired by the Legislature, sparking anger from the members who are on the environmental review board. Several board members say the board, not the Legislature, can fire the person.
The Star Tribune takes a look at the disagreement over how integration aid should be used in schools.
Minnesota continues to put together a plan that aims to reduce the spread of Asian carp.
KSTP says GOP state Sen. Mike Parry wants MnSCU should reform contracts to capitol payouts.
Fox 9 says Gov. Dayton has set a new deadline to see the best offers on the stadium front.
Ramsey County approved a search for stadium architects.
House Republicans are exchanging barbs with the White House and the Senate over the payroll tax cut extension. They declined to pass the Senate version of the bill on Tuesday.
The payroll tax dispute caused a split between House and Senate Republicans.
Minnesota's U.S. House members are bemoaning the payroll tax standoff.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann missed the vote because she's campaigning for president.
The Wall St. Journal characterized the disagreement as the "GOP's payroll tax fiasco."
The Army Corps of Engineers sent a flood diversion plan for the Red River Valley to Congress.
Congress passed legislation that would allow for members of the military to get faster airline screening. GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack authored the bill.
Race for Republican Party Chair
Pat Shortridge is running for the post.
Kelly Fenton is open to running for the post.
Mike Osskopp is no longer running for the position.
Race for President
President Obama's poll numbers are rising nationally.
Bachmann's campaign denies that Bachmann was asked to quit to MPR News but rather "merge with another candidate."
Vander Plaats backed Rick Santorum on Tuesday.
Mitt Romney criticized President Obama. Newt Gingrich alleges a smear.
WASHINGTON - After House Republicans rejected a bipartisan Senate bill that would extend the payroll tax cut for two months, the GOP's campaign committee is launching calls in DFL Rep. Collin Peterson's district trying to blame Peterson and other Democrats for the standoff.
The call script, provided by the National Republican Congressional Committee, accuses Peterson of supporting a tax increase on the middle class because he voted against the House Republicans' first attempt to offer tax extension, a bill loaded with unrelated legislative riders that pushed other Republican priorities.
Still, it was House Republicans who voted to reject the Senate payroll tax bill, a measure that drew the support of 39 out of 47 Senate Republicans. With Senate leaders vowing not to bring the Senate back in session until January, the NRCC's call campaign against Peterson appears to be part of a pre-emptive effort to spread the blame in case the payroll tax does rise on Jan. 1.
Ironically, Peterson told MPR News on Tuesday that while he has voted with his party on this issue, he would prefer to see the payroll tax cut expire as part of a broader effort to rein in the budget deficit.
The calls also come as Republicans unity is fracturing on the issue. Senate Republicans continue to denounce the House's actions and on Wednesday morning, the usually conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page castigated the House GOP for its handling of the payroll tax cut.(4 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Congress has more or less gone home for the year without acting on bills to authorize a replacement for the Stillwater lift bridge. Now, a bipartisan group of House members from Minnesota and Wisconsin is calling on that chamber's leadership to bring the House bill up for a vote as soon as possible.
"Congress must act soon to ensure that the state funding is not reallocated to other projects," said a letter to Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings signed by Minnesota Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and Tim Walz, and Wisconsin Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Sean Duffy, Ron Kind, Thomas Petri and Reid Ribble.
As reported by MPR News last week, efforts to attach the St. Croix River bridge bills to must-pass legislation weren't successful. But bridge supporters including DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Bachmann, a Republican, continue to sound an optimistic note that their legislation can pass next year before the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation have to reallocate their funding to other projects.(6 Comments)
Posted at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
State Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, announced today that he will not seek the position of Senate majority leader.
Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet Tuesday to select a replacement for Amy Koch, who resigned as majority leader last week amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a make staff member.
Thompson, who's serving his first term, sent out a brief news release to clarify his intentions.
"I have made a decision not to run for Senate Majority Leader," Thompson said. "I am confident this is the right decision. I will support the candidate I believe to have the combination of integrity, core principles and administrative skills necessary to move Minnesota's agenda forward. The forecasted budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium demonstrates the effectiveness of the policies enacted into legislation by the Republican Legislature. We must elect a Majority Leader that is able to unify our Caucus and build upon that success."
GOP Sen. Amy Koch issued a statement today apologizing her behavior. She issued the statement after MPR News contacted her today to comment that her former chief of staff, Cullen Sheehan, said Koch and the unnamed male staffer acknowledged the relationship to him. Read the story here.
Here's Koch's statement:
In a letter dated 12.15.11, I announced that I was resigning as Majority Leader for personal reasons. I have made some mistakes and errors in judgment for which I am deeply sorry by engaging in a relationship with a Senate staffer. While I have not violated any laws or Senate rules, nor misused any state funds or property, I want to express my deep regret and apologies to my constituents, the Republican party, my fellow legislators, friends and most importantly, my family. I regret more than words can express the hurt that I have caused to the people that I love, and to those who have worked and served with me over the past years.
The events of recent days have been very difficult for me and those close to me. It is important that I spend time now focusing on the challenging days ahead as I work through some very personal issues.
Terry McCall, the Republican Party of Minnesota's 2nd District Congressional Chair, is getting into the race to replace Tony Sutton as chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. McCall issued a statement on Facebook tonight saying he's the best person to bring the party together after Sutton abruptly quit his post earlier this month.
"This is a critical time for our party," McCall said in the statement. "We have the opportunity to renew a great brand."
McCall said his goal in 2012 is to maintain the majority in the Minnesota House and Senate and elect a Republican President in 2012.
Political consultant Pat Shortridge and Todd McIntyre are also running for the position. Shortridge, who confirmed to MPR News that he's running for the post, didn't return repeated calls to discuss his candidacy. The conservative blog, True North, has more about McIntyre's candidacy and Shortridge's campaign.
Whoever is elected chair of the party will have some work to do. The Republican Party of Minnesota is more than $600,000 in debt and doesn't have a top tier candidate to challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
MPR examined the problems facing the MNGOP in this story.(4 Comments)