Posted at 6:22 AM on February 27, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The February Forecast will be released on Wednesday at 11:45.
There has been plenty of incumbent reshuffling as a result of the new maps. Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake, decided to run for reelection. The move puts GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean in a tough spot (McFarlane and Dean were paired).
The Senate is expected to vote today on a bill that would allow school districts to discharge teachers on merit not seniority.
Gov. Dayton was elected vice chair of the Midwest Governors Association.
Key Republicans want more information before funding the next LRT.
AP has a look at the Minnesota Sex Offender program and the release of its first offender (on provisional release).
The Pi Press has a story on whether lawmakers should legislate by constitutional amendments.
The Star Tribune says Republicans are weighing the cost of a union battle over the Right to Work amendment.
The Star Tribune says a majority of the members on the Minneapolis City Council have not backed a stadium proposal.
Violence in Afghanistan is mounting as a result of Quran burning.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling for calm amid the violence.
The New York Times says Mr. Obama has accepted many portions of a deficit commission.
NPR takes a look at what happens if the Keystone XL Pipeline isn't built.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Sen. Al Franken write a letter opposing the postal cuts.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says a bill in Congress would cut infrastructure funding.
Race for U.S. Senate
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar writes an op-ed on what she wants to see in the next Farm Bill.
Race for Congress
State Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas, said she's challenging DFL Rep. Collin Peterson. Hoffman would not commit to abiding by the GOP endorsement when she spoke with MPR News.
GOP Rep. John Kline is working to reelect Rep. Bob Turner, R-NY.
The Hill says the new political lines have Democrats optimistic about defeating Kline. Democrats don't have a candidate in that district yet.
Tim Pawlenty, who said GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann was "non-existent" in Congress during their failed runs for the White House, is now backing Bachmann's congressional bid.
Race for President
A battleground poll shows President Obama leading his GOP rivals.
It's down to the wire in the Michigan primary.
Rick Santorum said no apology is needed for burning Quran burning.
Santorum also made the case for religion in the public sphere.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer endorsed Mitt Romney.
Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature say they want to end a tax break for foreign operating corporations to help pay back recent payment delays to K-12 schools.
The Legislature and governor delayed $2.2 billion in payments to schools over the past four years to balance the state's budget. Sen. Katie Sieben,
RDFL-Newport, said closing what she calls corporate tax loopholes would generate $450 million a year. She said the plan would pay back the schools within six years.
"The state has given Minnesota kids $2.2 billion in IOUs," Sieben said. "But IOUs can't buy textbooks, construction paper or a chance for children to play in their elementary school band."
Gov. Dayton has suggested using the money from closing tax loopholes to create a new tax credit to encourage businesses to hire. The state's business community has opposed closing the corporate tax break. They argue it helps companies like 3M, Target and Medtronic remain competitive with foreign companies.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Senate is currently considering a bill that would allow performance consideration in teacher layoffs.(1 Comments)
Two of the Republicans who had announced earlier they would seek the party's nomination to run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Monday they are ending their campaigns.
Anthony Hernandez said he's decided to abandon his campaign and instead will try to run against DFL Rep. Betty McCollum in Minnesota's 4th Congressional District.
St. Bonifacius City Council member Joe Arwood also ended his campaign for Senate today.
The announcements come two days before Minnesota Army National Guard Capt. Pete Hegseth is set to formally launch his Senate campaign against Klobuchar. There's been a lot of buzz about Hegseth's candidacy. He is a graduate of Princeton University who served in Iraq and recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Hernandez indicated he will focus on economic issues in his campaign for Congress.
"In a lot of ways Congresswoman McCollum has served this district well, however I think the issues that she champions such as environmentalism and protecting the global environment is not what's resonating with your common voters here in St. Paul and the surrounding areas," Hernandez said. "So I think what people are yearning for are decisive and bold economic solutions."
In a posting on Facebook, Arwood indicated he was ending his campaign for financial reasons.
"I can no longer devote adequate time and financial resources to this endeavor and do what is best for my family," his post said.
The first Republican to launch a campaign against Klobuchar, former four-term state Rep. Dan Severson, has no intention to end his campaign, according to a campaign official. Severson is also a veteran, having served 22 years in the Navy.
WASHINGTON - Long-delayed legislation to authorize a new, highway-style bridge to take the place of an aging river crossing in Stillwater could receive a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives as soon as Wednesday.
House Republican leaders placed the bill on the legislative calendar Monday evening, just days after DFL Gov. Mark Dayton told bill sponsor Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann the House had until March 15 to pass the bridge bill, or he would have to redirect Minnesota's state funding.
"My constituents are eager for a new crossing to be built," said Bachmann in a statement. "This project has gone unfinished for far too long."
Ironically for Bachmann, the congressional district she represents will no longer include Stillwater when voters go to the polls in November. Instead, the bridge's biggest opponent, DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, will represent the area.
An identical version the bill, which exempts the planned bridge from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act protecting the St. Croix, was approved by the Senate last month. That means the legislation could arrive on President Obama's desk for signature before the end of the week if the House gives its approval.
Republican leaders appear confident the measure will pass: they're considering it under special rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage that are traditionally reserved for non-controversial legislation. Still, opposition from McCollum has slowed the process.
While McCollum initially cast her opposition to a new bridge in terms of the impact on traffic in the region and concerns about setting a precedent for bypassing the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, lately she's been criticizing the project's nearly $700 million price tag in an effort to woo fiscal conservatives.
In a letter sent to House colleagues Monday night urging them to vote no on the bill, McCollum called the bridge "a monument to government waste." Her office is also circulating a letter written by former Vice President Walter Mondale, who sponsored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act when he served in the Senate, in which he calls the proposed bridge "a profound mistake."(5 Comments)