The Minnesota House passed a bill that would eliminate teacher seniority in Minnesota.
A task force recommends greater oversight for school integration efforts.
Lawmakers are being urged to reverse a pay cut to Personal Care Attendants.
Public safety officials are lining up against the "shoot first" bill.
A deal on the Vikings stadium is expected soon.
The White Earth tribe proposes a metro casino to pay for the stadium.
Same-sex marriage amendment
Minneapolis-area Lutherans weigh the marriage amendment.
The U.S. unemployment applications dropped to a 4-year low.
AP says the political passion for small business job creation is overblown.
General Motors reported a record $7.6 billion profit in 2011.
The House and Senate may vote as early as today on a payroll tax cut extension.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson discussed the payroll tax cut holiday extension with MPR.
Congress debated a requirement that contraception coverage be provided.
Several female members of Congress walked out of the hearing because no woman were scheduled to testify at the hearing.
Congress is considering auctioning off the public airwaves.
The House voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
DFL Sen. Al Franken and other Democratic Senators are calling on the IRS to investigate non-profits dealing in politics. The group is targeting Karl Rove's American Crossroads PAC.
House Republicans push a plan to update the federal education law. GOP Rep. John Kline is leading the efforts.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum grilled Interior Secretary on a Stillwater bridge proposal.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz is pushing for a conference committee to be appointed on the STOCK Act.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen discussed President Obama's budget plan and free trade with MPR.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says remittances with Somalia are still an issue.
Race for Congress
Republicans Mike Parry and Allen Quist woo Tea Party voters in Rochester.
Race for President
Rick Santorum challenges Mitt Romney in a Michigan speech.
Both Santorum and Romney defended their opposition to the auto bailouts during campaign stops in Michigan.
The Washington Post says Romney, who ripped Santorum on earmarks, received federal subsidies too.
Santorum released his tax returns.
AP says Santorum's views are out of step with public opinion on birth control, women in combat, abortion and women in the workplace.
Women's advocacy groups criticized a major financial backer of Santorum's campaign for his comments regarding birth control.
Anthony Shadid, a New York Times correspondent, died while on assignment in Syria.
There won't be a Digest on Monday.
Posted at 9:28 AM on February 17, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: MN Legislature
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, is asking Republicans leaders to provide a more thorough accounting of the cost of producing campaign materials distributed during last week's precinct caucuses.
Bakk sent a letter yesterday to Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, requesting a Senate rules committee hearing to further discuss the matter.
"I commend the Senate Republican caucus for publicly admitting wrongdoing by Republican senators who used state resources to produce campaign materials at taxpayer expense," Bakk wrote. "However, I remain deeply concerned by the failure to acknowledge the full cost to the Senate."
Earlier this week, Senate GOP spokesman Steve Sviggum said that Republicans should not have used public money to print a pamphlet they distributed at GOP precinct caucuses last week. Fifteen GOP senators handed out the pamphlets that touted their 2012 legislative agenda, but also directed readers to a website that asked for campaign donations.
Sen. Senjem told reporters that he read Bakk's letter but has not decided whether a rules committee hearing is needed. He also noted that the matter will be looked at by the Office of Administrative Hearings. Senjem said the caucus erred and is willing to accept the consequences.
"There's no question the web site was on there. It was inadvertent, not intended but, it was on there. That's the way it is. We can't take that back."
The Cook Political Report is characterizing the upcoming election battle in Minnesota's 8th Congressional district as a "toss-up."
GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack currently represents the northeastern Minnesota district which was considered a DFL stronghold until Cravaack defeated DFL incumbent Jim Oberstar in 2010. Three Democrats; former Congressman Rick Nolan, Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson and former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, are vying to run against Cravaack.
Democrats in Minnesota and nationally have said that winning the 8th is a priority. Minnesota Republican Party Chair Pat Shortridge said keeping the district in Republican hands is one of his goals. A competitive race means voters in that district should expect a lot of TV ads and campaign mailings in October.
The political handicapper is also rating Minnesota's 1st Congressional District and Minnesota's 7th Congressional District "Likely Democratic" and Minnesota's 6th Congressional District "Likely Republican."
DFL Rep. Tim Walz represents the 1st District, which includes Rochester, Mankato and other southern Minnesota cities. Two Republicans; state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca and former state Rep. Allen Quist are vying to challenge Walz.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson represents the 7th District which includes Moorhead and the bulk of western Minnesota. Republican Lee Byberg is running for that seat.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota's 6th District. No Democrats have announced that they intend to challenge her.
One big caveat is that the congressional boundaries are unlikely to stay in the current shape. A court appointed panel is expected to release a new set of political maps next week that could dramatically alter the state's political boundaries.
It remains unclear when or if state lawmakers will take up a Vikings stadium bill this session, and now one key leader is floating the idea of waiting for a special session to deal with the issue.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, told reporters today that a special legislative session might be a good option if a stadium bill doesn't come forward in a timely fashion. Senjem said lawmakers don't want to stick around the State Capitol any longer than necessary, especially if they finish their other work.
"If all we're doing is waiting for a stadium proposal to arise, it would seem to me that we'd recess or perhaps just adjourn and wait for the governor to call a special session once the package was together," Senjem said.
Senjem said his preference is to deal with a stadium bill before the regular session is over. He wouldn't say if a special session would be better before or after the November election.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he thinks Senjem would have a hard time finding many other lawmakers who want a special session, especially in an election year.
"I don't support the idea of a special session," Bakk said. "Members of the Legislature aren't going to support the idea of a special session."
The Minnesota Vikings may be prepared to put up 44 percent of the cost of a new $970 million stadium in downtown Minneapolis, under the terms of a deal that could be announced early next week.
Rough numbers were sketched out in a presentation to business leaders on Thursday, and a participant in the meeting tells MPR News that the team has pledged about $425 million to the project.
Several present at the meeting said that planners were hoping to make an announcement on Tuesday.
Mayoral spokesman John Stiles denied an agreement was done. "No deal," Stiles said, in response to media reports that the city, state and team were ready to move forward to the Legislature. "We continue to negotiate through the weekend," Stiles said.
Vikings vice president for stadium development, Lester Bagley, also said talks hadn't finished. "There is no agreement," Bagley said. "Conversations continue, but there is no deal."
The team previously offered $425 for a deal in Ramsey County, but that was contiingent on a stadium getting built in Arden Hills.
Business leaders at the meeting heard that Minneapolis is also standing by its offer of putting $150 million in money up front for a Vikings stadium and $95 million for an upgrade to Target Center. The Timberwolves made an offer last year to put another $50 million into the improvements at the downtown arena.
The Timberwolves did not respond to an inquiry about their role in the city's so-called "3-for-1" deal, which includes the stadium, the Wolves home and the convention center.
The deal is also expected to include a "poison pill" that would eventually strip the city of the proceeds of its hospitality taxes if the Minneapolis City Council doesn't sign off on the deal. That could leave the city itself to shoulder the costs of maintaining and promoting its Convention Center, after the taxes pay off existing convention center bonds.
A participant at the meeting said former Minnesota Wild executive Jac Sperling told the group that negotiators were making progress on terms of a short stay at TCF Bank Field if the Metrodome site wasn't available to the NFL during stadium construction.
'We do not have an agreement yet," said University spokesman Patty Mattern. "But we're very close."
The plan in the works has the state putting just under $400 million from the proceeds of the expansion of charitable gambling into electronic pull tabs. But a spokeswoman for the governor's office also denied a deal was final.
Any stadium agreement would also require approval from the Legislature, where it's likely to face substantial opposition.(1 Comments)