The State Budget Forecast will be released today at 11:45. Gov. Dayton has a briefing at 12:45.
The Star Tribune says a rosy forecast will change little.
The House is expected to take up the gun bill today. Gov. Dayton met with the bill's chief author but didn't make any commitments as to whether he'd sign the bill.
MPR says a state facility for the mentally ill risks losing a state license over turmoil involving the St. Peter facility.
DFLers push for a bill that they say would reduce foreclosures.
The new Minnesota Lottery chief ran games in Kansas.
Minnesota and Wisconsin are close to reaching a tax reciprocity agreement.
Longtime critics of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and his oversight of state election law have filed a federal lawsuit aimed at tightening the enforcement of voter-eligibility requirements.
A Republican legislator wants to give the arts money to schools.
The Nurse's Union is pushing legislation on staffing levels.
A Minnesota House Committee advanced a bill seeking independent audits of nonprofit HMOs.
Politics in Minnesota takes a look at the impact of the redistricting maps.
MPR says relying on gambling revenue to bankroll a new stadium is risky.
The Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time since the crisis.
DEED says job vacancies are up in Minnesota.
National housing prices fell in December.
KARE says a majority of lawmakers support the bridge.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says burning Korans is not against Islamic law (Note: story incorrectly says Ellison is the only Muslim in Congress. Andre Carson of Indiana is also a Muslim member of Congress).
Race for Congress
Sen.Olympia Snowe, R-ME, says she won't run for reelection.
The drug lobby gave big to Norm Coleman's
super PAC. non-profit.
Race for U.S. Senate
Republican Pete Hegseth will officially kick off his campaign on Thursday. The press event will be held at the State Capitol.
Race for President
Mitt Romney sweeps Michigan and Arizona.
President Obama's super PAC will advertise in Ohio.
State Finance officials are expected to announce this morning that the current two-year budget has a $323 million surplus, according to a person who has been briefed on the number.
The forecast comes just three months after State Finance officials announced that the state had an $876 million surplus. By law, that money was used to fill the state budget reserve and the state's cash flow account.
Gov. Dayton and state lawmakers will use the latest forecast to make spending decisions during the current legislative session. But there are already a lot of spending commitments in law. For example, state law says an additional $5 million needs to be placed into the state's budget reserves. The law also requires that the state start paying back a K-12 school shift that was used to erase a $5 billion budget deficit last year.
Several Republicans have said that they want to dedicate the money to start repaying the $2.2 billion school shift. But GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean said there could be pressure from other members to spend the money on other things. He said his caucus will start discussing those ideas in the next week or two.
Update: The forecast is projecting a $1.1 billion deficit for the next two-year budget cycle. That budget will have to be balanced by the next Legislature.
State Finance officials will officially release the report at 11:45 this morning. Gov. Dayton is scheduled to brief reporters at 12:45.
Posted at 2:00 PM on February 29, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: PoliGraph
Jim Messina, President Barack Obama's campaign manager, was in Minnesota last week, raising cash and trying to get students excited about this year's election.
At Macalester College in St. Paul, Messina argued that Obama did quite a bit during the first two years of his administration. Even a leading presidential historian said so, Messina claimed.
"The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin just said that the president got more done in the first two years than any president since Roosevelt," Messina said. "Can you imagine what he can get done if you give him four more years?"
Messina's statement is overblown - even by Obama and Goodwin's standards.
Messina didn't make clear whether he was talking about Theodore or Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But given that Obama is frequently compared to F.D.R. because of the economic challenges both men faced in office, and because F.D.R was more recently in the White House, it appears Messina was referring to the latter president.
Obama's advocates point out that he was able to overhaul the healthcare system, pass stimulus legislation, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, enact new financial rules, and start pulling combat troops out of Iraq within his first two years in office, among other things.
In an October 2010 Rolling Stone article, Obama earned praise from Goodwin, Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley for his early accomplishments.
When compared to the two Democratic presidents before him, "when you look at what will last in history... Obama has more notches on the presidential belt," Goodwin told Rolling Stone.
For their part, Ornstein and Brinkley pointed out that Obama's accomplishments in his first two years were among the most impressive, but that it didn't surpass that of F.D.R's or Lyndon B. Johnson's.
Indeed, Johnson's first two years were particularly productive. After he was sworn into office on Nov. 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy died, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which laid the groundwork for our current immigration system; the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which provides funding for public schools; and Medicare and Medicaid.
Even Obama appears to agree with Brinkley and Ornstein's assessment.
"I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln -- just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history," Obama said during a December 2012 interview with "60 Minutes."
Meanwhile, PoliGraph did not find evidence of Goodwin saying that Obama got more done in his first two years in office since Roosevelt. (She did not respond to e-mail inquiries.)
In fact, Goodwin reacted to Obama's "60 Minutes" comments by saying that it's too soon to judge Obama's legacy.
"None of that is being absorbed right now because people are not happy with the economy," she said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "So it's almost going to have to wait five, 10 years for people to look back and see those accomplishments," she said.
She added that Harry Truman, Roosevelt's successor, should be considered among the most successful presidents for the Marshall Plan, NATO and the desegregation of the Army.
While leading presidential historians, including Goodwin, have praised Obama's record so far, Messina's claim is off-base for several reasons.
First, PoliGraph could find no evidence that Goodwin believes Obama's two-year record was a good as F.D.R's. In fact, Goodwin said it's too soon to tell if he belongs in the ranks of F.D.R, Johnson or Truman.
Even Obama seems to side with Goodwin on this one, saying that he's done a lot - but not as much as at least a few of his predecessors.
For misquoting a leading presidential historian and for overstating Obama's record, Messina's claim leans toward false.
CBS This Morning, Presidents Day: A look at Obama so far, with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley, Feb. 20, 2011
The Atlantic, Obama, Explained, by James Fallows, March 2012
Rolling Stone, The Case for Obama, by Tim Dickinson, October 2010
The Brookings Institution, President Barack Obama's First Two Years: Policy Accomplishments, Political Difficulties, Nov. 4, 2010
The Charlie Rose Show, Roundtable on Presidential Leadership, Feb. 20, 2012
Obama and 'the fourth-best president' in context, By Jonathan Capehart, Dec. 21, 2011
Morning Joe, Roundtable with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dec. 21, 2011
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, History of Medicare and Medicaid, accessed Feb. 22, 23, 2012
Email exchange, Kristin Sosanie, spokeswoman, Obama for America - Minnesota, Feb.
WASHINGTON - A liberal group that contributes to female candidates who support legal abortion is the largest single donor to Minnesota's congressional delegation, according to a new report from MapLight, a nonpartisan research group that looks at money in politics.
EMILY's List donated more than $360,000 to incumbent members. The powerful political action committee claims credit for helping both DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and fellow Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum take office in Minnesota. The group also backed DFLer Tarryl Clark's run against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2010 and supports Clark's bid against Rep. Chip Cravaack this year.
Other prominent donors mentioned in the report, entitled "Who Owns Your State's Members of Congress?", include employees of the University of Minnesota, who contributed $141,000, employees of the Minneapolis law firm Robins Kaplan, who gave $139,000, employees of Dorsey and Whitney, another Minneapolis law firm, who gave $134,000 and Target employees, who contributed $119,000.
The study covers the period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011 for House members and July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2011 for Senators in order to capture a single term in each chamber.
Put in a tough race due to redistricting, Rep. Kate Knuth, DFL - New Brighton, says she will not seek re-election to Minnesota House.
The state's new political boundaries would have pitted Knuth against fellow DFLer Rep. Tom Tillberry of Fridley.
"I am proud of the work we do together to make Minnesota an exceptional place to live," Knuth wrote in a press release announcing her decision, pointing to her work on environmental and energy issues.
"While I will not be seeking re-election, I look forward to serving my neighbors through this term. I will continue to seek out ways in which to contribute to making Minnesota, and the world, a healthier and more sustainable place. I consider myself lucky to love Minnesota, my home state, more than I can fully describe. My service, leadership, and life's work will always be firmly rooted in this place and its people."
Meanwhile, DFL Rep. Lyle Koenen announced he will run for the Minnesota Senate for GOP Sen. Joe Gimse's seat. Koenen was paired with DFL Rep. Andrew Falk who plans to run again this year.
Tom Scheck contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON - The proposed new bridge over the St. Croix River near Stillwater moved one step closer to a vote in the U.S. House.
Saying it was "a once in a lifetime magic moment," the bill's chief House sponsor, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann urged her colleagues to support the measure.
Congressional action is needed because the St. Croix River is protected by the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. While there is near-unanimous support that the Stillwater lift bridge is old and in need of replacement, the issue pits DFL Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, who oppose the nearly $700 million freeway-style bridge under design, against Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, as well as Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation.
"This is not a good use of taxpayer money," said Ellison during the debate. "I find it absolutely shocking that all of these fiscal conservatives lining up to throw money at this overly-expensive, overly-hyped mega-bridge."
Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia noted that the legislation's language resembles an earmark, which House Republicans have prohibited.
"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, by golly, it's probably a duck!" said Rahall.
Supporters said the bridge was urgently needed for both traffic and safety reasons and argued additional delays would only add costs to the project.
Bachmann said the project's high cost was due to years of litigation and accused McCollum of personally orchestrating the opposition.
"The responsibility for the increased costs of building this bridge rests squarely on the shoulders of Representative McCollum and on her compatriots who have fought for decades to kill the building of this bridge," said Bachmann.
Noting the strong support the project has from the political establishments on both sides of the St. Croix River, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy said it was a rare chance for a frequently-divided House to pass bipartisan legislation.
"You have progressives and conservatives in this chamber who have all come out and supported this bill. You have Vikings and Packers supporting this bill," said Duffy. "This is a remarkable day."
The House will vote Thursday morning on the bill, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass due to special rules used to bring the bill to the House floor quickly.(1 Comments)
From MPR's Rupa Shenoy and Nancy Lebens
A spokeswoman at Regions Hospital says state Sen. Gary Kubly, DFL-Granite Falls, remains in critical condition after being taken to the St. Paul hospital earlier today.
DFL Senate Caucus spokesman Amos Briggs says Kubly had a medical crisis this morning and is at Regions Hospital. Briggs says Kubly's family is asking for the public's prayers.
Kubly, a retired Lutheran pastor, announced
in late January last year he'd been diagnosed with ALS, the degenerative neuromuscular condition also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Kubly's legislative career started with his election to the House in 1996 and was elected to the Senate in 2002. He has said he doesn't plan to run for re-election in 2012.(1 Comments)