Posted at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where voter ID opponents have filed a suit, Syria is putting Obama in a tough position, and conservative groups will spend $1 billion this election year.
Voter ID opponents have filed a lawsuit to keep the constitutional amendment question off of the ballot.
Rep. Morrie Lanning,R-Moorhead has a 10am news conference scheduled in Moorhead. Lanning, who authored the Vikings stadium bill in the House wouldn't say what the topic is. Lanning has not filed for re-election yet and wouldn't say whether he would run for re-election when the legislative session ended earlier this month. Republicans have not held an endorsing convention in his district.
House Republicans will hold a news conference at 11am after 30-50 of them file for office.
Gov. Mark Dayton appointed three judges in Hennepin County.
Minnesota businesses will accompany Dayton on a trade mission to China.
Dayton will meet today with the Executive Council to consider the MN DOR's request to approve 77 non-ferrous metallic minerals leases.
Sen. Al Franken held a hearing in St. Paul to examine whether aggressive debt collection practices at Fairview Health Systems broke federal laws.
Franken said he will introduce legislation that requires all laptops containing private medical information to be encrypted.
The Minnesota Supreme Court derailed an 11-year-old tobacco lawsuit, writes Bob Collins over at News Cut.
Wisconsin Recall Election
Support for Gov. Scott Walker is strong in St. Croix county.
Walker leads his Democratic opponent by 7 percentage points in the latest recall poll.
Walker and his opponent Tom Barrett both wrote in the Duluth News Tribune why they are best for office.
The conflict in Syria is putting President Barack Obama in an uncomfortable position, the New York Times reports.
Race for the U.S. House
Rep. Chip Cravaack filed his re-election paperwork.
Money and Politics
The House and Senate DFL caucuses will host a fundraiser tonight with Dayton as the special guest. Attendants will pay either $250 to attend the full caucus reception or $5,000 to attend a reception with House and Senate DFL leadership.
Conservative groups plan to spend $1 billion on the presidential and congressional races, Politico reports.
A super PAC that backed Pete Hegseth will no longer spend money in Minnesota now that Rep. Kurt Bills has won the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The Presidential Election
Today on the Daily Circuit: How America's changing demographics will affect this year's election.
Some foreign policy experts are so far tepid on Mitt Romney, the New York Times reports.
Obama called to congratulate Romney on winning the GOP presidential nomination.
Obama has launched new attacks on Romney focusing on his time as Massachusetts governor.
Romney backtracked on reforms with his judicial appointments the Washington Post reports.
Former President Bill Clinton will headline this year's annual DFL dinner.
"In this critical election year, we are proud to welcome President Clinton as we honor two of the Minnesota DFL Party's greatest leaders - Walter Mondale and Hubert H. Humphrey," said DFL Party Chair Ken Martin in a press release.
The event will be held August 4 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The party also announced that the event, previously known as the Hubert H. Humphrey Day Dinner, will now be called the Humphrey-Mondale Dinner to honor former Vice President Walter Mondale.
From MPR's Dan Gunderson...
State Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, is announcing his retirement this morning. Lanning says after prayerful consideration he decided not to seek re-election to a sixth term. Lanning says he looks forward to spending more time with family and friends.
Lanning authored the Vikings stadium bill that was enacted into law this year. He served five terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He was mayor of Moorhead for 21 years before he was elected to the state legislature.
Lanning's decision comes less than a week before filings close.
GOP legislative leaders said they expected Lanning to run for reelection. Democrats say they have a shot at winning the open seat.
Play the audio below to hear Lanning's interview on All Things Considered Thursday.
Update: GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers issued this statement on Lanning's retirement:
"Representative Lanning has served his community and our state with great class, and he is a true statesman. I've had the privilege of knowing Morrie since before either of us came to St. Paul. His dedication to public service and the honorable way he goes about working with his colleagues are second to none. We will miss having him as a legislator. I wish him well as a colleague and a friend."Lanning is the 28th member of the Minnesota House to announce their retirement.
Here's the list of House retirements:
Democrats not running again:
Rep. Marion Greene, DFL-Minneapolis
Rep. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Kate Knuth, DFL-New Brighton
Rep. Denise Dittrich, DFL-Champlin
Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL-St. Joseph
Rep. Bev Scalze, DFL-Little Canada (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Nora Slawik, DFL-Maplewood
Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville
Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia
Rep. Kory Kath, DFL-Owatonna
Rep. Sandra Peterson, DFL-New Hope
Republicans not running again:
Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove
Rep. Mike LeMieur, R-Little Falls
Rep. Pat Mazorol, R-Bloomington
Rep. Connie Doepke, R-Orono (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Ron Shimanski, R-Silver Lake
Rep. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Kurt Bills, R-Rosemount (running for the U.S. Senate)
Rep. Brandon Peterson, R-Andover (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Keith Downey, R-Edina (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Mark Murdock, R-Perham
Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan
Rep. Bruce Anderson, R-Buffalo Township (running for Minnesota Senate)
Rep. Carol McFarlane, R-White Bear Lake
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead
Note: Rep. Tom Tilberry, DFL-Fridley lost his party's endorsement to former Rep. Connie Bernardy. Tilberry hasn't said whether he'll run in a primary.
Posted at 10:02 AM on May 31, 2012
by Curtis Gilbert
Filed under: Campaign 2012
The candidates in Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall election are spending more than $350,000 dollars to run ads on Twin Cities TV stations.
The ads started airing this week on KSTP, WCCO, KARE 11 and FOX 9, according to publicly available files at the four stations. The spots are scheduled to run through next Tuesday. That's when Wisconsin voters will decide whether Republican Gov. Scott Walker should serve out the final two-and-a-half years of his four-year term.
So far Walker has outspent Democratic challenger Tom Barrett by more than three to one in the Twin Cities media market. He's also raised more than $20 million dollars over the last year. That's more than five times as much as Barrett. Plus, west-central Wisconsin skews Republican. So Walker has more to gain by advertising in the market.
But most of the people who will see the ads live in Minnesota, and can't vote in the election.
Posted at 4:45 PM on May 31, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - A committee hearing over legislation introduced by 3rd District Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen to repeal a tax on medical devices turned heated Thursday as Republicans and Democrats took turns re-litigating the fight over the 2010 health care law.
While many Democrats on the panel said they were uncomfortable with the tax and would be happy to see it reduced or eliminated, in the end only Democratic Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Shelley Berkley of Nevada joined all of the Republicans present to vote 23-11 in favor of eliminating the tax.
Repealing the tax, which goes into effect next year, has been Paulsen's biggest legislative goal since 2010, when he introduced his first bill to repeal the tax not long after President Obama signed the measure into law. Minnesota is home to a number of medical device companies, including Medtronic, and Paulsen has become their strongest advocate in Congress. He co-chairs the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus and in the past has described himself as a voice for the industry on Capitol Hill.
During the hearing, Paulsen described the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices as an "ill-conceived tax, which will increase health care costs, reduce patient access to new technologies, and cost us hundreds of thousands of American jobs."
Paulsen and other Republicans touted a 2011 study funded by an industry trade association, AdvaMed, which claimed the tax would cost the industry 43,000 jobs in the United States and have a significant negative impact on industry revenues.
A report by Paul Van de Water of the liberal-leaning Center for Budget and Policy priorities dismissed those concerns, arguing, "The provision is sound, however, and the industry lobbying campaign aimed at repealing it is based on misinformation and exaggeration."
Republicans did not offer a plan to pay for the estimated $29 billion cost of eliminating the tax, a move that prompted intense criticism from Democrats. After the hearing, Paulsen said he expected House leadership to select an offset when the measure comes to the floor next week.
Some Democrats on the panel accused Republicans of trying to dismantle the 2010 health care law bit by bit while others noted that the tax helped pay for the extension of medical insurance to 30 million people who are currently uninsured.
The hearing comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to determine the constitutionality of the health care law which Republicans are determined to repeal before it fully goes into effect in 2014.
While Paulsen's bill is almost certain to pass the U.S. House, its fate in the U.S. Senate is up in the air. DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken have both said they would like to see the burden lifted from the industry but have not co-sponsored similar legislation introduced in the Senate.
Posted at 4:07 PM on May 31, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6
Jim Graves filed paperwork today to run for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District.
The DFL-endorsed candidate is challenging incumbent Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Graves had been living outside the district when he launched his campaign, but he told reporters today that he recently bought a house in St. Cloud and is now living there full time.
"I did that for practical purposes," Graves said. "I want to be with the people. I want to be among the people. I'm from St. Cloud. I wanted to get back in St. Cloud."
Graves said his campaign will focus on jobs and economic issues. He said his background in business gives him a skill set that previous DFL candidates for the seat did not have. Graves said he is also courting independent voters, as well as the Independence Party of Minnesota.
"Tom Horner, Peter Hutchinson, these people are very supportive of our campaign, are involved in actually the inner circle on a lot of policy that we're working out," he said. "We don't think we're going to have any significant Independence Party people running against us."
Rep. Bachmann is seeking re-election to a fourth term. She has not yet filed her campaign paperwork. Bachmann sent out a fundraising appeal today that linked her re-election bid with her youngest child's pending graduation from high school.
"As President Obama spends our country into oblivion, Sophia is in danger of inheriting an economy and job prospects worse than when I was her age, a phenomenon that is unprecedented in American history," Bachmann wrote. "For Sophia and young people around America, we must stop President Obama and the Democrats from doing any more damage to our fragile economy and endangering our futures."
Posted at 10:23 PM on May 31, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
President Obama is in Minnesota today to hold an event at a Honeywell facility in Golden Valley. He's also holding three fundraisers in Minneapolis for his campaign.
Obama will announce an executive action aimed at helping veterans find jobs.
MPR reports that while Obama's campaign is actively organizing in Minnesota, Republican Mitt Romney's campaign is virtually nonexistent.
Jack Meeks, who chairs Romney's 2012 steering committee in Minnesota, says he expects Romney to make a campaign visit to Minnesota in the next few months but had no other details.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who attended the Michigan Republican Convention instead of the MNGOP Convention in May, is holding a conference call to rip Obama's Minnesota's visit.
Pawlenty, who failed in his White House bid, has become a surrogate for Romney. He traveled to several state GOP conventions to speak on Romney's behalf (North Carolina this weekend) but didn't show up to Minnesota's convention last month.
AP says Minnesota could test Obama's influence on same-sex marriage.
Romney appeared at the former headquarters for failed solar company Solyndra to criticize President Obama.
Surrogates for Obama and Romney engaged in verbal jousting in Boston.
Former President Bill Clinton undermined some of Obama's attacks on Bain Capital (and Romney).
Politico says the economic performances in swing states favor President Obama.
Under the Dome
Minnesota approved the sale of copper-nickel exploration leases.
DEED has started taking applications for the $47.5 million in grants from the bonding bill. The deadline is June 26. Officials from the St. Paul Saints, Southwest LRT, the St. Cloud Convention Center, the Mayo Civic Center and the Mankato Civic Center all say they will apply for the money.
Two of the state's public employee unions have reached a tentative agreement with the state of Minnesota.
DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk says he wants a public hearing before he signs off on the Senate's $46,000 legal bill from the Michael Brodkorb/Amy Koch affair.
Gov. Dayton says Rep. Morrie Lanning, who announced he isn't running for reelection, is "extremely well qualified" for the new stadium commission.
Minnesota's Attorney General Lori Swanson questions North Memorial and debt collector Accretive Health.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says the state shouldn't pick up the tab for partisan redistricting work.
The U.S. and European countries are scrambling to get a handle on the euro-zone's financial crisis.
The European Central Bank President is urging European countries to try something new and warns the current system is unsustainable.
Jobless aid filings are at a 5-week high.
A new study says more Minnesota children are living in poverty.
GE bets on green cars in Eden Prairie.
Republicans are considering options to break the student loan impasse.
The House shoots down a ban on sex-selective abortions. It passed with a majority of the votes but needed a two-thirds majority.
A House panel approved a repeal of the medical device tax. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is mentioned.
Several environmental groups are calling for cuts to crop insurance.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she's optimistic about the passage of the Farm Bill.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz is introducing "sodsaver legislation" into this year's Farm Bill.
The DFL Party's state convention is this weekend. The party is planning a quiet event in Rochester to endorse U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Former President Bill Clinton will headline the DFL Party's Humphrey-Mondale Dinner.
Former Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has been acquitted on one count and a mistrial was declared on five others.
The verdict is a blow to public corruption prosecutions.
Race for Legislature
The state's legislative races are expected to draw a lot of attention and money. 50 Republicans filed for the Minnesota House on Thursday. The group said they would not support tax hikes to fix future budget problems.
GOP Rep. Morrie Lanning is retiring.
Race for Congress
Democrat Jim Graves filed to run against GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann.