Welcome to the Daily Digest, where some GOP lawmakers printed precinct pamphlets with taxpayer money, Washington reacts to Obama's budget, and Santorum surges in the polls.
MPR finds that some Republican state senators handed out pamphlets at precinct caucuses that were printed on the taxpayer's dime.
A federal investigation into Minnesota's HMOs is underway.
That could mean some fireworks at today's 12:30 House Health and Human Services meeting on HMO transparency.
A new report shows how taxpayer dollars are helping improve the state's water quality.
Two state Republicans are asking Gov. Mark Dayton to reverse a decision to free a sex offender, the Post-Bulletin reports.
A bill would require teachers to prove they can read, write and do basic math.
The Anoka-Hennepin School Board adopted the "Respectful Learning Environment" policy.
The ACLU of Minnesota is offering $1,000 for an example of voter impersonation.
A new report shows that 1 in 8 voter registration forms have errors.
The state House Tax Committee chair says that the Minneapolis tax used to pay for the convention center should be axed.
The Vikings aren't talking about going to LA.
Two Rochester Republican lawmakers are proposing a tax increase on cigarettes.
President Barack Obama laid out his latest budget proposal, which includes higher taxes for the rich.
The GOP doesn't like it.
Typically, the president's budget is largely meant to highlight the administration's priorities for the coming fiscal year. This year, Obama is using the budget to set the tone for the upcoming presidential election.
You can check out every aspect of the proposal here.
Relevant to Minnesota: the budget includes $300 million for Great Lakes clean up.
The state's farmers and health care companies would be affected by the budget, the Star Tribune reports.
In a reversal, House Republican leaders proposed an additional extension of the payroll tax credit extension without finding other ways to make up for the lost revenue.
Around the Nation
Same-sex marriages are legal in Washington State.
The New Jersey Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
On the Campaign Trail
Politico writes that upcoming nominating elections Michigan and Ohio are where Santorum is looking to make the it race a two-man contest.
It's not an unreasonable plan given one poll has Santorum leading in Michigan - Romney's home state - by 14 percentage points.
Ramesh Ponnuru, who is editor of the conservative National Review, says that Santorum poses the biggest threat to Romney yet.
Most of Romney's top donors are unknown.
Newt Gingrich says he's not leaving the race any time soon.(1 Comments)
Senate Republican caucus spokesman Steve Sviggum acknowledged today that Republicans should not have used public money to print a pamphlet they distributed at GOP precinct caucuses last week.
The apology came shortly after state DFL Party officials said they would file a campaign finance complaint over the pamphlets because they sent people to the Senate Republican website, which asks for donations to GOP senate campaigns.
Fifteen Republican senators handed out the pamphlets that touted their 2012 legislative agenda, thanked people for attending cacucuses and directed them to website. Sviggum admits he made a mistake.
"I take responsibility for that being there," he said. "It is not a responsibility for any of the senators or any of the staff other than myself."
Sviggum said he'll reimburse the state for the cost of the printing.
The DFL filed its complaint with the
Minnesota Campaign Finance Board Office of Administrative Hearings against 12 Republican senators. A spokeswoman said they'll amend the complaint if they find additional violations. DFL Party Chair Ken Martin told reporters that the senators in question and the Senate Republican Caucus should be penalized.
"At the end if the day we feel that they clearly crossed the line here," Martin said. "They didn't just go up to the line, they crossed the line and turned the literature they produced at taxpayer expense into campaign literature."
Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said the Republican Senate counsel had seen the pamphlet before it went out and approved it. Senjem said he considered it the same kind of literature senators would send to constituents.
State law prohibits taxpayer money from being used for campaigning.
Here's the complaint filed by the DFL Party:1 Comments)
Posted at 7:21 PM on February 14, 2012
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Vikings stadium
Vikings Vice President for Stadium Development Lester Bagley said this afternoon that the team would be playing the 2012 season at the Metrodome.
"We won't be sending any letters to the League," Bagley said a day ahead of the NFL's Feb. 15 deadline. That's the latest date a team can tell the league that they plan to play the following season in another market.
The move was widely expected. Officials at both the Los Angeles Coliseum and the Rose Bowl said they hadn't heard anything from the Vikings, making a quick relocation to California unlikely. Rose Bowl officials said they couldn't accommodate an NFL team before 2013 at all.
Bagley said the team is "encouraged by the progress on a stadium" in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton, during an appearance in Richfield today, said those talks had intensified in recent days, including a conference with Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Chair Ted Mondale this afternoon.
Bagley said there was no deal ready to report. He expects talks to continue.
The Vikings also faced a potential legal challenge to a relocation: the team's Metrodome lease contains a clause requiring them to add another season in the Metrodome. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission has contended that missed games in 2010, due to the roof collapse, would keep the team in Minneapolis. The Vikings disputed that, but the point may be moot now that the team has taken a pass on a relocation under official NFL rules.