The head of the Minnesota Security Hospital resigned at the request of the Department of Human Services.
Under the Dome
The Senate bonding bill is scheduled to be released this morning.
A bill that would spend $221 million to repair the State Capitol is headed for the House floor.
MPR says the Campaign Finance Board can't keep up because of stagnant funding from the Legislature.
The House passed a bill that would allow consumers to resell their concert, sports and theater tickets.
Senate Republicans say a potential lawsuit by former staffer Michael Brodkorb is delaying an ethics complaint against GOP Sen. Geoff Michel.
The Senate passed a bill that would allow for the sale of hunting and fishing licenses during a state government shutdown.
An appeals court restores Minnesota's judicial election rules.
Gov. Dayton's goal of tripling minority work on some construction projects has upset some construction firms.
The MPCA postponed a decision on the BWCA haze plan.
The Senate language that includes "or equivalent" is unlikely to be in the ballot question for the Voter ID proposal.
AP says foes of same-sex marriage sought to split the Democratic Party by pitting African American and Latinos against gay rights groups.
Tidbit: The National Organization for Marriage is still engaged in a lawsuit over disclosing its donors in Maine.
Union workers rallied at the State Capitol on Tuesday to blast the proposed amendments.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today over severability and Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act.
The court is split over the requirement for health insurance.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann protested the health care law at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Competing budget plans are headed for a House vote on Thursday.
Congress passed the JOBS Act.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says polls won't change the strategy in Afghanistan.
A fight over transportation bills threatens projects.
Republicans, including GOP Rep. John Kline, are calling for a probe of the federal student loan program.
Democrats and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are want the agency to have more power. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
Race for President
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll says half of Americans now have an unfavorable view of Mitt Romney.
President Obama leads Romney in polls in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Newt Gingrich is cutting staff.
Gingrich also pledges to support Romney if Romney wins the nomination.
Former DFL Rep. Larry Haws of St. Cloud lost his battle with brain cancer.
Senate Republicans have proposed a public works bill that spends $561 million on projects throughout Minnesota. The plan focuses mostly on local projects throughout the state including $39 million for the University of Minnesota. $127 million for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, $30 million for flood mitigation, $25 million for a new building at the Minneapolis Veterans Home and funding for the Hormel Institute, the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester and St. Cloud Civic Center. (Full spreadsheet below)
The Senate also spends dramatically less that House Republicans on renovating the State Capitol. House Republicans are proposing to spend $221 million to renovate the Capitol. The Senate bill spends $25 million.
The House has two bonding bill proposals moving. The $221 million for the State Capitol Renovation and a $280 million borrowing plan for local projects.
The plan is also smaller than Gov. Dayton's plan that borrows $775 million.
Here's a breakdown of the projects in the Senate bill ($561 million total cost. State's general fund obligation is $462m)
University of Minnesota $39,060,000
-$35 million for asset preservation
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities 127,028,000
-$32 million for asset preservation
-$5.9 million for Anoka/Ramsey Community College Coon Rapids
-$13.3 million for workforce program renovation at Minneapolis Technical College
-$26 million for North Hennepin Community College Bioscience and Health Careers Addition
-$13.8 million for lab renovation at Ridgewater College, Willmar
Department of Education 1,000,000
Minnesota State Academies 1,000,000
-Perpich Center for Arts Education 263,000
Natural Resources 56,000,000
-$30 million for flood hazard mitigation
-$6 million to fight invasive species
-$5 million to develop the Lake Vermilion State Park
Pollution Control Agency 5,256,000
Board of Water and Soil Resources 12,000,000
Rural Finance Authority 33,000,000
Zoological Garden 7,000,000
-$25 million for State Capitol Renovation
-$5 million for Washburn Center for Children
Amateur Sports 375,000
Military Affairs 25,000,000
-$19.5 million for addition to Camp Ripley
Public Safety 4,037,000
-$20m local bridge renovation
-$14.2 million local road improvement grantss
Metropolitan Council 12,850,000
Human Services 2,500,000
Veterans Affairs 29,816,000
-$25.4 million for a Minneapolis Veterans Home building.
Employment and Economic Development 77,850,000
-$13.5 million for Hormel Institute
-$10 million for the St. Cloud Civic Center Expansion
-$32 million for Mayo Civic Center Expansion in Rochester
Public Facilities Authority 24,850,000
-$20 million for Wastewater Treatment.
Housing Finance Agency 6,000,000
Minnesota Historical Society 3,250,000
Bond Sale Expenses 560,000
TOTAL $ 561,159,000
Bond Proceeds Fund (General Fund Debt Service) 462,283,000
Bond Proceeds Fund (User Financed Debt Service) 64,676,000
State Transportation Fund Bond Proceeds (General Fund Debt
Here's the spreadsheet:2 Comments)
The Minnesota Senate passed a bill today that would allow the University of Minnesota to sell alcohol at college football games. Right now there is no liquor sold at the stadium and the measure would end a long-running dispute between the University of Minnesota and the State Legislature.
The U of M and the Legislature have been at odds over where and how the U of M could sell alcohol during its games. The university wanted to sell alcohol only in suites but lawmakers complained that anyone over the age of 21 should be allowed to purchase alcohol.
Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, added the amendment to a broader liquor bill. He said the proposal has the support of both sides.
"I would present it as peace in the valley," Michel said.
The proposal requires that the U of M sell the alcohol in a place that is convenient to everyone and that those legal to purchase alcohol have access to the area. Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said the measure would ensure that those who legally allowed to drink alcohol can purchase it at the game.
"Part of the problem at TCF Stadium is that maybe when it was built it wasn't set up to be serving alcohol in the way that we would be normally be used to in a football stadium," Tomassoni said. "This compromise allows them to set it up in a way that it will work there."
The measure would also allow alcohol to be sold at Minnesota Vikings games played at TCF stadium.
Editor's Note: After publishing this story on March 28, Kathy Bonnifield, executive director for Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota, sent PoliGraph this academic paper written by Michael J. Pitts and Matthew D. Neumann at the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis.
After the 2008 general election, the authors polled Indiana's 92 counties to find out how many people had to fill out a provisional ballot because they didn't have proper identification, and how many of those ballots were ultimately counted. According to the research, 1,039 voters filled out a provisional ballot because they lacked the right ID, and 137 of those ballots were counted. That means nearly 87 percent of the ballots were not counted.
It's important to point out that we still don't know is why those voters didn't return to their local elections offices to verify their identification or to seek one of several identification exemptions Indiana offers. Some may not have had the proper identification, others may not have had the time or the interest to return.
Still, the research shows that around 83 percent of the provisional ballots cast by those who did not have proper identification were never counted, and it underscores Higgins' underlying point that casting a provisional ballot doesn't meant the vote will be counted.
We've changed this PoliGraph ruling to accurate as a result. The original story - with the original ruling of misleading - remains below.
It appears all but certain a constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls will be on the ballot this fall.
The amendment passed both the Minnesota House and Senate mostly on party lines. A conference committee will now have to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
According to both the versions of the bill, those who don't have proper identification will have to fill out a provisional ballot, which could be counted once a voter's identity is confirmed. DFL Sen. Linda Higgins, who opposed the amendment, said it's a system that hasn't worked that well in other states.
"In Indiana after Voter ID was passed, 83 percent of the provisional ballots were never counted," she said during Senate debate over the bill. "That's appalling."
Higgins is correct that 83 percent of Indiana's provisional ballots were never counted in the 2008 presidential election. But her claim implies that all of them were rejected because of the state's voter ID laws, which is misleading.
Indiana's voter identification rules became law in 2005. Voters who don't have photo ID at the polls can fill out a provisional ballot. It's counted only if the voter can prove their identity or seeks an exemption
by noon on the Monday following an election within 10 days of the election. Some states use provisional ballots even if they don't have voter ID rules, and Indiana was using them before it adopted its new law.
Minnesota does not use provisional ballots because the state allows voters to register the same day as they vote.
Higgins did not return calls to clarify which year she was talking about or to provide sourcing. But data collected after each national election by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission tracks provisional ballot rejections.
After the 2006 election, the first year Indiana's voter identification law was implemented, 1,107 provisional ballots - or about 55 percent of all provisional ballots cast - were not counted. According to the survey, none were thrown out because voters failed to prove their identity.
The 2008 presidential election cycle saw higher turnout and more provisional ballots. Roughly 84 percent of Indiana's provisional ballots were not counted.
But only 14 percent of the rejected ballots were not counted because voters failed to show proper identification. Other ballots were thrown out because the voter wasn't registered in the state, registered in the wrong precinct, or didn't sign his or her ballot, among other reasons.
During the 2010 midterm elections, Indiana did not count 61 percent of the roughly 1,800 provisional ballots cast. Twelve percent of the rejected ballots were not counted because voters failed to present sufficient identification.
It's true that after the 2008 presidential election Indiana rejected roughly 83 percent of its provisional ballots. And Higgins has a point that provisional ballots don't always guarantee a vote.
But Higgins fails to point out that far fewer of the uncounted ballots were rejected because of identification issues, as her claim implies.
On balance, Higgins' claim is misleading.
Minnesota Public Radio News, Senate passes voter ID requirement, critics vow litigation, by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio News, March 23, 2010
Pew Center on the States, Provisional Ballots: An Imperfect Solution, July 2009
National Conference of State Legislatures, State by State Voter Identification Requirements, accessed March 28, 2012.
U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 2010 Election Administration and Voting Survey, December 2011
U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 2008 Election Administration and Voting Survey, November 2009
U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 2006 Election Administration and Voting Survey, December 2007(2 Comments)
Posted at 4:10 PM on March 28, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Campaign 2012
Expect some changes at President Barack Obama's Minnesota re-election office.
Starting Monday, Jeff Blodgett, who was executive director of WIN Minnesota, will direct Obama's state campaign. Blodgett had the same job in 2008.
Blodgett's replacement at WIN Minnesota is Adam Duininck, who previously served as legislative and political director for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49.
"Our number one goal is to take back the Legislature for progressives," Duinick said. "We need to take back our state from tea party extremists and get the focus back on bread and butter issues such as jobs, economic fairness and building our roads, schools and infrastructure."
WIN Minnesota raises cash for political groups, most notably the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which helped Gov. Mark Dayton win the 2010 gubernatorial election.
One of WIN Minnesota's most generous donors is Alida Messinger, Dayton's ex-wife and daughter of John D. Rockefeller III. She also serves on WIN Minnesota's board, and Blodgett is considered once of her closest advisers.
WASHINGTON - The House Republican campaign committee thinks longtime DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson may be vulnerable in this year's election and has launched a $41,000 TV ad campaign against him.
The National Republican Congressional Committee's ads say that Peterson, a founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, has "changed" when it comes to his support of a balanced budget.
The NRCC cites Peterson's votes against a 2011 Republican budget proposed by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to show that he's no longer a fiscal conservative. Further, the ad goes on to accuse Peterson, who opposed President Obama's health care law when it went through the House, of voting to uphold Obama's "takeover of healthcare." You can see the ad here.
The ad campaign comes ahead of this weekend's 7th District Republican endorsement convention to choose a candidate to run against Peterson. Lee Byberg and State Sen. Gretchen Hoffman are both running to unseat Peterson, who defeated Byberg in 2010 by 17 percentage points.
Peterson also has a considerable financial advantage against both Republicans, with $676,000 in his campaign account, compared to $128,000 for Byberg. Hoffman, who declared her candidacy recently, has not yet filed federal campaign finance reports.
A joint House/Senate Conference Committee has agreed to use $430 million from the state's budget reserves to start paying back a payment delay to K12 schools. A spokesman for the House GOP Caucus said the conference committee wrapped up the report tonight after the House agreed to drop policy provisions in the bill.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for Governor Dayton to sign this bill," Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said in a statement. "Removing the LIFO (Last In First Out) provisions from the House File and the policy from the Senate File will give him a clean bill to repay the shift that he can sign."
Republicans have been eager to start paying back a school shift plan that was used in July to erase part of the state's $5 billion budget deficit. The state will still owe roughly $2 billion to K12 schools if the plan is enacted into law.
Gov. Dayton and Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter have criticized the plan to tap the budget reserve to start paying back the school shift. Schowalter has said that tapping the budget reserve could lead to cash flow problems for the state in the coming months.
MMB released a cash flow report that showed the state could have difficulty paying its bills in September and October even if Gov. Dayton vetoes the Republican legislation to tap the budget reserves.
The House and Senate would have to each pass the conference committee report before it heads to Gov. Dayton.