At the Capitol
Gov. Mark Dayton blasted a Republican counter offer to his stadium plan, calling the move "gamesmanship."
Here's are some other things he said about the plan.
Republicans are split over the new financing plan.
The GOP has pledged $250 million in state funds for the new stadium plan. That's $148 million short of the state's contribution for the fixed-roof proposal supported by Dayton.
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said the GOP is considering outside funding to pay for the stadium roof.
The Star Tribune reports that the House has exceeded its per diem budget.
MPR looks at Ron Paul's influence on the U.S. Senate race.
According to the Star Tribune, "A T. Boone Pickens-backed wind energy company is suing several Goodhue County landowners who backed out of leases for a proposed wind farm near Red Wing."
Medtronic will lay off 220 workers at its Mounds View facility.
Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng now says he wants to leave China.
The French presidential candidates debated.
The New York Times writes that Obama is walking a fine line between "hawk and dove" on national security issues in the lead up to the general election.
On the Presidential Campaign Trail
Newt Gingrich suspended his campaign.
He's leaving with a lot of debt, Fox News reports.
Michele Bachmann will endorse Mitt Romney today.
The PoliGraph checked one of Romney's claims about Obama and America's youth and found it to be misleading.
Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney PAC, is airing this ad in 9 states and will spend $4.3 million on the effort.
When Restore Our Future ran the ad earlier this year, campaign finance watchdogs said the group had violated campaign finance laws because Romney's 2008 presidential campaign ran the same ad.
The battle of ads between Obama and Romney's supporters has begun.
A new Obama ad accuses Romney of sending jobs overseas.
On Politico's website: coordination rules between candidates and outside spending groups are "a one-way street."(2 Comments)
A version of the new GOP plan for a Vikings stadium has the team upping its contribution to $525 million dollars.
That's according to a document labeled "DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION PURPOSES ONLY" obtained by MPR News:
House Republican caucus spokeswoman Jodi Boyne said leadership provided similar numbers to Gov. Mark Dayton when they met with him yesterday. But she said that the draft version is outdated -- and that the indeterminate contributions in a GOP plan released last night is the actual proposal.
"This is the version that Gov. Dayton asked us not to release, because we hadn't talked to all of our partners yet," Boyne said of the draft proposal. She said House Majority Leader Matt Dean would address the matter more fully today.
Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley has insisted the team's contribution is capped at $427 million, as reflected by the original stadium plan that has been the subject of several committee hearings and is awaiting votes by the House and Senate.
The GOP-backed plan to use general obligation bonding to finance the state's share of a new Vikings stadium appears to have yet another hurdle to jump.
Trouble is, according to Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL- St. Peter, that general obligation bonding has a maximum term of 20 years -- shrinking the debt payment schedule from the expected 30 year lifespan of the stadium.
John Polllard, spokesman for the state department of Management and Budget, confirmed the term issue.
Morrow says that poses another problem: matching the team's lease with the life of the bonds may violate strictures on using the state's credit card for "private purposes."
"We've all presumed a 30 year lease, but we cannot legally do a lease longer than 15 years. You can't have a lease with a private entity concide with the terms of the payment. State bond counsel is telling us the maximum lease the Vikings can sign is 15 years. I don't think we should bet the state's money on the fact that the Vikings will double the lease. We should have a plan that is firm, consistent and that people can vote for on the front end, and not hope for a good outcome in 15 years."
Morrow is a co-sponsor of the original stadium plan that finances the state share with electronic pull-tabs and bingo.
The Associated Press' Martiga Lohn is also reporting that Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem is confirming that the stadium debt and general obligation bonding need to be "delinked."
Republicans have scheduled an 11:30 press conference to talk about the matter.
UPDATE: House majority leader Matt Dean says there were too many obstacles to plan to finance stadium with general obligation bonds, says caucus won't be bringing the plan forward. Plan looks dead.
Minnesota Congresswoman and former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has said all along she would support the eventual Republican nominee, but waited until today to formally get on board with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
She will be with Romney in Virginia today.
Bachmann's Congressional re-election campaign released this statement announcing her endorsement.
"This November, Americans will be at the polls with a serious choice- they can vote for more of Barack Obama's transformation of America, with more joblessness, higher energy prices, fewer opportunities for our children, more government controls, bailouts, and failed economic policies, or they can vote for a new vision of prosperity and liberty. I'm honored to announce that today, I am endorsing Governor Mitt Romney for President of the United States, a man who will preserve the American dream of prosperity and liberty.
"We've had a hard fought battle already to choose a candidate. Being personally involved in the endorsement process was an honor for me. And I want to thank everyone involved in the campaigns, from the candidates, the delegates, the volunteers, all of us can be proud of our efforts.
"This is the last chance we have to keep America from going "forward", over the cliff, as Governor Romney said, and restore the values of prosperity and freedom. This is the opportunity for conservatives, independents, and disaffected Democrats to join me and Governor Romney in denying Obama a second term. On November 6th, the only option is Mitt Romney for President."
Bachmann left the presidential race after a dismal showing in the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucuses. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Romney within weeks of ending his presidential campaign in mid-August. Pawlenty ended up paying off his presidential campaign with help from Romney family members and associates.
According to Federal Election Commission records Bachmann's presidential campaign still owed more than $1 million as of the end of March.
Bachmann's DFL challenger in the 6th Congressional District, hotelier Jim Graves, has been trying to make an issue out of Bachmann's presidential campaigning, saying she has ignored Minnesota. He used the Romney endorsement to note that rather than being in Virgina, he will be campaigning in central Minnesota today.
"I will be a full-time Representative for our district," said Graves. "While her freewheeling comments have made her a national media phenomenon, they have not added one net job to the 6th District," added Graves. "In Congress, I will create jobs that pay a living wage, and I have the job-creating record to prove it."
President Barack Obama will be visiting Minnesota on June 1, according to a person close to the president's Minnesota campaign who didn't want to be identified because the details of the trip have yet to be worked out.
The president's time here will likely involve a mix of events, including fundraising.
In the last few months, Minnesota has been visited by several individuals close to Obama, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, and David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the campaign.
During his visit to Minnesota visit last month, Axelrod said he doesn't expect Minnesota to be a battleground state, but that the campaign isn't taking the state for granted, either.
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says the Vikings are going to get what they asked for: a vote by the House on the deal they struck with the Dayton administration, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis.
"We'll be having a vote on the Vikings stadium on Monday," Zellers said. "The Vikings and the governor believe the votes are there. At this point, it's going to be up to him to gain the votes. These things, stadiums, whether it be for professional baseball, hockey or football, rise and fall on the ability of a governor not only to sell, but deliver votes."
The announcement came minutes after House Majority Leader Matt Dean said the GOP was dropping its "Plan B," this week's proposal to fund the new stadium with general obligation bonds.
"We met for several hours yesterday, and came very close... And then when we began working with MMB, it became clear that there was some hurdles within that particular arrangement about using general obligation bonds," Dean said at a morning press conference. "Because of those impediments, and we said that we would only move forward with a bill that we could get support from all parties with, that we will not be bringing that forward as a bonding proposal. We will not be bringing something forward that is not going to stand the test of scrutiny with MMB."
Zellers sounded a pessimistic tone about the stadium's prospects when it goes before his colleagues next week.
"I don't know that there are the votes in the Republican caucus for the votes at this point," Zellers said.
He also said he won't be among them.
"I've said many times, I'm trying to stay out of being a political reason for people to vote for or against the bill. I can say as the bill sits now, the cost overruns being paid for by the taxpayers, I don't think are fair deal. I have said many times, this should be a good deal for the taxpayers. The team not paying at least 50 percent of the price is a problem for me as well. And if there is no vote by the Minneapolis residents, I don't think that's fair. It was the reason I voted against the Twins bill, and if those provisions are continued in here, I will not be able to support the bill."
Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem said he expects the Senate will take up the stadium financing bill when, and if, the House passes it.
WASHINGTON - The national campaign arm of Democrats in the U.S. House has officially put Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline's 2nd District seat in its sights. It has put his DFL opponent former state Rep. Mike Obermuller on the group's "Red to Blue" list of possible districts to add to the Democratic column.
"[Obermuller] is going to have our full support," said Robby Mook, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We are already investing in a ground game there to help make sure we have the infrastructure to turn out the vote."
Kline's district is one of three in Minnesota that the DCCC will likely play a role in this fall. In the 1st District, the DCCC is helping U.S. Rep. Tim Walz defend his seat while the group is also engaged in the 8th District, where it hopes to topple first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Despite Kline's strong showing in the past four elections and a million dollars in his war chest, the DCCC and Obermuller say that Kline's votes on the Republican budget and the 2nd District's new boundaries, which now include DFL-leaning South St. Paul, change the electoral math in their favor.
While the DCCC has been making noise about the 2nd District since the new congressional district maps were released in February, it's not clear just how seriously they intend to compete there. Mook declined to say how much material support they would offer Obermuller, and the last DCCC foray against Kline turned out to be a $100 radio ad buy.
Kline's campaign declined to comment on the DCCC's announcement.
It appears that legislative leaders have agreed on a $496 million public works bonding bill.
The Minnesota House was scheduled to take the bill up tonight, but sponsors yanked it at the last minute. Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said he pulled the bill after Gov. Dayton threatened to veto it. He said the governor was concerned about the disparity in spending between the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
"Staff said he'd veto the bill if I didn't make MnSCU and the U of M closer," Howes said. "They said MnSCU could be a little bit larger but it has to be closer than what it is now."
The bill spends $144 million for MnSCU campuses across the state compareed to $54 million for the University. Howes said he expected to scale back funding for flood mitigation and MnSCU to make up the difference.
He insisted the bonding bill will remain at $496 million, a figure the four legislative leaders and Capital Investment experts agreed upon.
The deal comes after DFL House members repeatedly criticized Republicans for putting forward a bill that didn't spend enough and didn't have DFL input.
Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, said she's pleased with the changes. She said Democrats made the decision to support the bill even if it didn't meet their initial expectations. She said a smaller bill is better than no bill at all.
"To have a year with zero means next year you have a bigger backlog than ever," Hausman said. "We thought this was the last week of session and at this point it became necessary to become a realist."
The bill spends $30 million for flood mitigation, $44 million to renovate the State Capitol, $30 million for local bridge replacement and rehabilitation, $5 million to start work on a new wing to the Sex Offender Treatment Center in St. Peter.
There is no funding for Southwest Light Rail Corridor, a new ballpark for the St. Paul Saints, the St. Cloud Civic Center, the Mayo Civic Center Expansion and the Mankato Civic Center. But the bill includes $55 million for an economic development grant program that could fund some of those projects.
Howes said the program would allow the Department of Employment and Economic Development to spend money on "four star projects" around the state. He warned, however, that the funding couldn't support all of the projects being pushed by regional communities.
"If anybody did 4th grade arithmetic, $55 million would not do all of those wonderful things that some people would like to do," he said.
Howes also said he was disappointed that his plan to spend $221 million to renovate the State Capitol was trimmed back. But he characterized it as a good start.
"We all shoot for the stars and sometimes we land on the moon," Howes said. "It gets the project going."
The House is expected to vote on the bonding bill before the Vikings bill on Monday.
Here's the initial spreadsheet released by House Republicans.
Let the lobbying on the stadium begin. Supporters and opponents of a Vikings stadium plan are lobbying heavily on a bill that is scheduled to get a House vote on Monday.
The move comes after GOP legislative leaders scrapped their stadium proposal. GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers announced he was holding the vote on Monday and said he wouldn't support it.
The announcement set off a fierce round of lobbying. MPR has a look at where some rank and file members stand.
Two key things to watch: Some members say Gov. Dayton's decision on the Tax bill will impact their decision. Also expect efforts to make the Vikings pay more.
The Legislature also sent a Tax bill to Dayton but the Pi Press characterizes a veto as "all-but-certain."
Zellers also made an some interesting comments on KFAN radio as he was defending himself on the issue. He said he isn't going to vote for the bill but wants to see it pass. He also said "I'll be right there cheering for him the whole way" when Dayton is the guy at the fifty yard line when the new stadium opens. Listen to KFAN's interview here.
The movement signals there may be an end in sight for the legislative session.
Dayton vetoed a bill that would weaken teacher seniority. Advocates argued that it would keep the best teachers in the classroom.
Dayton signed the Game and Fish bill. It would ok a wolf hunt and increases hunting and fishing license fees.
An attempt in the Senate to overturn Dayton's veto of the fireworks bill was a dud.
MPR say an investigation finds emotional abuse and neglect at Duluth Group Homes.
Some local school districts are finding it harder to get approval to shorten their school weeks.
The White House is bracing for the April jobs report.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is pushing for a bill that would forbid employers for accessing Facebook passwords.
Race for Congress
The 8th Congressional District's DFL convention is this weekend. Expect Rick Nolan to win since he's the only candidate to pledge to abide by the endorsement. Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson is working to blunt that momentum. Former House Majority Leader and current IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich announced this morning he's backing him. Anderson also picked up the endorsement of several legislators.
The DCCC is targeting GOP Rep. John Kline.
Race for President
President Obama will visit Minnesota on June 1.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann formally endorsed Mitt Romney.
Romney teamed up with coal magnate Bob Murray for a fundraiser.
Side note: We've been having trouble e-mailing the Digest this week. The tech folks are working on it. Sorry for the inconvenience.