Gov. Dayton is scheduled to headline a fundraiser later this month to help a group that wants to defeat an constitutional amendment that would define marriage between one man and one woman.
The fundraiser is being billed as the "first-ever Governor's Pride Reception." It will be held on June 19, four days before the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The funds will go to Minnesotans United for All Families, which is working to defeat the amendment.
Meanwhile, Dayton's sons, Eric and Andrew, announced that they're donating $200,000 to the group. In an e-mail to supporters through Minnesotans United for All Families, the Daytons are encouraging donors to "match their contributions."
"It's simple: Committed, same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry. Together, we can contribute $400,000 toward Minnesotans United's efforts to protect that freedom," they wrote in the e-mail.
Their e-mail comes one day after Public Policy Polling released a poll saying there is growing opposition to the proposed amendment among those polled.
June 19 is the filing deadline where the public will get a better understanding of who is funding the groups. Minnesota for Marriage, a group that supports the amendment, reported raising roughly $1.3 million most of it coming from the Catholic Church, the National Organization for Marriage and the Minnesota Family Council.
If a majority of those support the measure in the November election, Minnesota's Constitution would be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Posted at 12:10 PM on June 6, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Marriage Amendment
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has dismissed a complaint against the Minnesota Family Council, an organization that supports a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
In its report , the Board said it found no evidence that the Minnesota Family Council (MFC) has violated state law.
The dismissal stems from a complaint filed earlier this year by Common Cause Minnesota.
The complaint alleged that MFC violated state law by working on behalf of the marriage amendment because the Family Council is a political committee and failed to register as one. Common Cause said MFC should be subject to the same reporting and disclosure requirements as other political committees.
The proof was in the nearly $347,000 MFC spent in 2011 from a special fund it set up to promote the marriage amendment, Common Cause argued.
"Surely an organization that spends an amount to influence a ballot question in seven months that nearly triples the total amount spent on all of its activities in the prior year has the 'major purpose' of promoting the ballot question," the Common Cause complaint stated.
The Board defines a political committee as an organization whose major purpose is to promote or defeat a ballot initiative, among other things.
But in its ruling, the Board argued that given all the activities MFC has engaged in since it was founded, the group's major purpose was broader than promoting the marriage amendment.
The Minnesota Family Council applauds the board's decision. John Helmberger, Minnesota Family Council CEO, wrote in a press release that, "the Common Cause complaint was nothing but a political stunt designed to harass donors to MFC. It is clear that MFC complied with Minnesota law and all of the CFB's guidance and we anticipated that the CFB would reject the complaint upon completion of their analysis."
Rep. Kurt Bills, the Republican-endorsed candidate to challenge incumbent DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate, is making the nation's debt and deficit a big part of his party platform.
On several occasions, he's called out Klobuchar for not doing much on federal spending.
Take, for instance, a line from a press release his campaign sent the day Klobuchar won the DFL endorsement for re-election.
"The United States Senate has failed to pass a budget in more than three years. Klobuchar has produced no specific plans to address annual deficits or national debt," the press release read.
Part of this claim is true, part is misleading.
When Congress passes a budget resolution, it's not law. Rather, it's a framework that outlines revenue and spending; specific spending decisions are made by the appropriations committees.
Congress doesn't grind to a halt if it fails to adopt a budget resolution; both chambers can debate and approve appropriations spending bills regardless.
But as House Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said in a 2011 press release, "The United States Congress has a moral -- and legal -- obligation to propose and pass budgets that tackle our generation's greatest challenge."
The last time the Senate passed a budget resolution was April 29, 2009 for fiscal year 2010.
Some argue that the 2011 Budget Control Act, a bill Klobuchar supported that raised the debt ceiling and cut federal spending by more than $2 trillion, is effectively a budget resolution - and that it's even better because it's enforceable by law.
But generally speaking, Bills is correct: the Senate hasn't passed a budget in three years.
The second part of Bills' claim that Klobuchar has produced "no specific plans" to address the deficit or debt is trickier to sort out. During a recent press conference, Bills pointed to a budget proposal put forth by Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, that Bills says he will be running on as well.
"A big part of today is for saying, here's where I think we should start and now we should have a dialog," Bills said. "So I hope that there is a plan that comes forward from the other side. In a dream world, Sen. Klobuchar would have her plan now."
It's true that Klobuchar hasn't issued a point-by-point budget proposal as Paul has. Though there's nothing barring Klobuchar from publishing her own proposal as legislation or as part of her campaign, Washington, D.C., budget expert Stan Collender said it's not something that freshmen Senators like Klobuchar typically do; that's the job of the budget chairman.
"It would be a waste of time and staff resources, and it would be for show and not serious," because it's unlikely such a plan would get any attention in the Senate, Collender said. "She is not one of the people who would be responsible for making that happen."
It would also be unfair to say that Klobuchar isn't concerned about the debt and deficit. For instance, in 2010, she withheld her vote to raise the debt ceiling until President Barack Obama agreed to establish the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bipartisan group of budget experts who put together the Bowles-Simpson plan, a proposal that encourages tax increases and spending cuts.
Klobuchar campaign spokesman Ben Garmisa pointed out that she supported the Budget Control Act, too.
"Senator Klobuchar voted for the bipartisan Budget Control Act, which will reduce the debt by $2.1 trillion over 10 years and goes further than a traditional budget because it has the force of law," he said.
Klobuchar also meets monthly with a group of 45 senators who are trying to build on the Bowles-Simpson plan, though the group has not produced legislation.
And Klobuchar has also said she supports a mix of revenue increases and spending cuts. She has mentioned closing tax loopholes, allowing the government to negotiate drug prices under Medicare, keeping Bush tax cuts in place for the middle class, and cutting some defense and agriculture spending among other ways to shrink the deficit.
Though some would argue that the debt ceiling deal is effectively a budget, Bills is basically correct on his first point: the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget resolution in three years.
The second part of Bills' claim about Klobuchar's debt and deficit record is thornier. He's right that she hasn't authored a plan as her colleague Paul has. And Klobuchar's support for various debt and deficit proposals is different than issuing a concrete plan.
However, Bills claim implies that Klobuchar hasn't been active on debt and deficit issues when, in fact, she has. Further, Bills hasn't released his own budget plan, either. Rather, he's said he's running on Rand Paul's. For leaving out context, this part of Bills claim is misleading.
Kurt Bills for Senate, Kurt Bills on Klobuchar Receiving the Democratic Party Endorsement, June 2, 2012
Congressional Research Service, Congressional Budget Resolutions: Historical Information, March 13, 2012
THOMAS, S.CON.RES.13: FY 2010 Budget, approved April 29, 2009
Sen. Rand Paul, The Platform to Revitalize America, March 8, 2012
Politico, Wrestling with debt-ceiling strategy, by Manu Raju and Jonathan Allen, April 12, 2011
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Jobs and Economy, accessed June 5, 2012
Mike Osskopp, spokesman, Kurt Bills for Senate, June 5, 2012
Ben Garmisa, spokesman, Amy Klobuchar for Senate, June 6, 2012
Stan Collender, Qorvis Communications, June 6, 2012(1 Comments)
Posted at 2:35 PM on June 6, 2012
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton announced today that he has appointed Judge Beverly Jones Heydinger to chair the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Heydinger will fill the post previously held by former state Sen. Ellen Anderson, who was Dayton original choice. Senate Republicans voted in January to fire Anderson.
Heydinger currently serves as an Administrative Law Judge. She previously served as the state's Deputy Attorney General. Dayton praised Heydinger in a news release.
"Judge Heydinger will be an outstanding Chair of the PUC," Dayton wrote. "In her work as an Administrative Law Judge, she has demonstrated a strong depth, breadth of knowledge, and ability to master complex issues quickly."
Heydinger will begin her PUC duties on July 2.
WASHINGTON - The Obama Administration has threatened to veto legislation put forward by Minnesota Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen that would overturn a tax on medical devices that was part of the 2010 health care overhaul.
The House is set to vote as early as Thursday on Paulsen's bill, which has 240 cosponsors from both parties. Paulsen has made the bill one of his biggest priorities in Congress, calling it "a tax on innovation" that will hurt Minnesota's medical device industry.
House Republicans have opted to offset the $29 billion cost of repealing the tax by increasing the amount middle class taxpayers would have to repay the government for subsidies they receive to buy health insurance but don't fully use.
In a statement of official policy to Congress, the Office of Management and Budget said the bill would expand the number of Americans without health insurance while funding "tax breaks for industry by raising taxes on middle-class and low-income families."
The 2.3 percent excise tax was included in the health care law in order to fund an expansion of heath insurance to those who currently do not have it. Minnesota lawmakers, including Democrats, fought hard against the provision during the health care debate and managed to halve the size of the tax and delay its introduction. It now goes into effect in 2013.
As reported by MPR News earlier this week, Paulsen's bill has put some Minnesota Democrats in a political bind between supporting a local industry and chipping away at a health care law that almost all of them supported. On Wednesday, DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz announced that he would support a repeal of the tax.
While the legislation is almost certain to clear the House, it's unlikely to receive a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
In a brief statement, Paulsen said the administration's veto threat would not deter Republicans from bringing up the bill.
"American leadership in medical device innovation, and the nearly half million U.S. jobs it supports, is worth fighting for," said Paulsen. "With the backing of more than 240 of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, I look forward to bringing this bill to the House floor tomorrow to do the right thing and stop this ill-conceived and wrong-headed tax in its tracks."(6 Comments)