Posted at 6:50 AM on December 23, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Star Tribune reports this morning that the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter has been fined for abuse.
MPR interviewed Gov. Dayton about Amy Koch's inappropriate relationship, the prospects for a new Vikings stadium and his first year in office.
He told the Star Tribune that jobs are his top priority for 2012.
Dayton says he hopes to have a good working relationship with the next Senate Majority Leader.
AP says Republicans have been secretive about selecting a new leader. They meet on Tuesday to vote on the leadership position.
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers is scheduled to speak at the U of M's Humphrey School on Jan. 19.
The city of Duluth and the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe are still at odds over a ruling on a casino payment.
MinnPost takes a look at the difficulty in reporting on the Koch scandal.
Gov. Dayton told MPR News that his son, Eric, is getting married next week to Cornelia Oehler in San Francisco. Dayton will be out of the state for most of the week.
House GOP leaders caved on their insistence that the payroll tax cut be extended by a year. House GOP leadership agreed that they would pass a temporary tax cut that was approved by the U.S. Senate last week.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who hasn't made many votes in the past five months, called the temporary payroll tax cut a "gimmick."
MPR has statements from the other members of Minnesota's delegation here.
AP says Americans are frustrated by congressional stalemates.
10,000 troops have left Afghanistan.
Unemployment applications are the lowest they have been since 2008.
A Minnesota organization is suing the FDA over its regulation of nanotechnology.
The Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad is fighting to keep its bolt-action rifles. The Army wants to upgrade them. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants to pass a ban on synthetic drugs.
GOP consultant Pat Shortridge says he'll serve as MNGOP Chair through 2012 in a volunteer role.
Terry McCall also announced he's running for chair.
Race for President
AP says President Obama is benefiting from a Republican Party that can't seem to capitalize on its advantages.
Support for Ron Paul appears to be picking up.
Newt Gingrich is lowering expectations in Iowa.
Mitt Romney declines to debate Gingrich.
Romney says he has no current plans to release his tax returns.
Bachmann is not on the Virginia primary ballot.
Occupy hecklers drowned out Bachmann at an Iowa diner.
The Digest is taking a break through the rest of the Holidays. We'll continue to post to the blog but we just won't be getting up so early to do it.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays.
WASHINGTON - With the payroll tax deal approved by both chambers of Congress on Friday, the first session of the 112th Congress is done. With the House in Republican hands and the Senate controlled by Democrats, it's not a surprise to see that this session was less productive than past Congresses where a single party controlled both sides of the Capitol.
According the legislative tracking website Govtrack.us, just two bills authored by members of Minnesota's delegation this year have made it to the President's desk for signature and only one of those bills has been signed into law.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar was the original sponsor of the Appeal Time Clarification Act of 2011 which clarifies the time limits for when civil lawsuits against the federal government can appealed. President Obama signed that measure on Nov. 29th.
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack's bill to speed airport security screening of armed service members passed the House and Senate this month but hasn't been signed by the President yet.
Measures introduced by Republicans John Kline and Erik Paulsen and Democrat Tim Walz have passed the House but not the Senate. Some of those bills, such as Kline's Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, won't get taken up the Democratic-controlled Senate in any meaningful way. That measure overrides decisions made by the National Labor Relations Board about union election rules.
Members are quick to point out that even when they aren't the author of a bill, they're often able to add provisions of their own to the legislation. For example, Klobuchar's office notes that parts of a bill the senator introduced on supporting military victims of sexual trauma were incorporated into a Defense Department reauthorization bill.
Still, by almost any measure, the 112th Congress was one of the least productive on record said congressional scholar Sarah Binder at the Brookings Institution. She attributed some of the gridlock to the unusual split in party control between the two chambers but also pointed to a new schedule that keeps the House out of Washington more often. Binder added that the legislative process has become highly partisan and centralized in recent years.
"I think that this emblematic of a Congress and recent Congresses that are just tightly controlled by party leaders. That is, access to getting your particular policy issues onto the floor is difficult," said Binder, who received her PhD from the University of Minnesota.
One case in point is the fate of House and Senate bills to authorize a new bridge over the St. Croix River. Both measures spent the year weaving their way through House and Senate committees and securing endorsements from most members of the Minnesota and Wisconsin congressional delegations in the process. The bills now await a vote on the floor of both chambers but neither House nor Senate leadership has yet to schedule that vote.
With election season already starting to dominate lawmakers' attention, it's possible 2012 may prove even less productive on Capitol Hill.
Michele Bachmann's campaign for President announced today that they're going to start running TV and radio ads in Iowa this week. Bachmann, who won the Iowa Straw poll in August, is working to rally support for her candidacy at the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. The campaign says the ads will run statewide through Jan. 3 and will feature "Voices from Iowa."
This is the second ad campaign Bachmann has run in Iowa. She ran ads right before the Iowa Straw poll.
Bachmann is just the latest candidate to start running ads in Iowa. Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are spending heavily in Iowa. Super Pacs backing Perry and Mitt Romney are also reportedly spending heavily in the state.
WASHINGTON - Republican Congressman John Kline will be taking a trip to Latin America with House Speaker John Boehner and other House members in January.
The Washington Post reports that the congressional delegation will visit Brazil, Colombia and Mexico on a week-long trip starting Jan. 8. Kline spokesman Troy Young would not confirm that itinerary and said only that the trip will "focus on economic and security issues in the Western hemisphere."
Kline chairs the House's Education and Workforce Committee and sits on the Armed Services Committee and is considered a close ally of Boehner's.
Other participants reportedly include Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), Dave Camp (R-MI), Doc Hastings (R-WA), Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Greg Walden (R-OK). Like Kline, Camp, Hastings and Walden all chair powerful House committees.(4 Comments)