Welcome to the Daily Digest, where a race track deal was approved, a conservative group is going after two Republicans and one Democrat for their support for the stadium, and the economy dominates the presidential debate.
Harness track opposes a deal between Canterbury Park and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
The Minnesota Racing Commission voted 5 - 3 Wednesday in favor of the deal.
Heavy May rainfall has caused more pollution in Minnesota rivers.
Supporters of a constitutional amendment to require voters to show government-issued ID at the polls say they doubt cost claims.
The number of Medicaid patient is growing faster in Minnesota than in other states, the Star Tribune reports.
The Marriage Amendment
From Lavender Magazine's Facebook: "Breaking News: Just announced at the General Mills 2012 Betty's Family Pride Reception, General Mills opposes the anti-marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot in November. 'General Mills is in the business of nourishing lives; not just some of them, all of them.' You make us proud, General Mills."
Gov. Mark Dayton is hosting a pride reception to benefit Minnesotans United for All Families on June 19, from 6-8 pm. Co-hosts include Rep. Paul Thissen and his wife, OutFront Minnesota, and suggested donations are $25-$500.
State Legislative Races
The local arm of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group founded by David Koch, has targeting two Republicans and one Democrat for their vote on the Vikings stadium.
U.S. Senate Race
Minnesota Senate candidate Kurt Bills stars in a short film.
The U.S. Senate is debating the farm bill. On Wednesday, it stalled an attempt to cut sugar beet subsidies.
Farmers are split over subsidies, NPR reports.
The PoliGraph says Rep. Erik Paulsen's claim about a new medical device tax is a bit uncertain but defensible.
CIA chief Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says automatic defense cuts could be a 'disaster'
The Department of Justice will not retry John Edwards.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill, JPMorgan CEO apologized for the bank's trading losses.
North Dakota's Senate isn't a sure thing for Republicans, Washington Post reports.
The U.S. has expanded intelligence operations in Africa.
Sheldon Adelson is now contributing to a pro-Mitt Romney PAC.
Romney said Wednesday that 'President Barack Obama's policies are most anti-business in modern history' according to the Washington Post.
Recent bad news for the economy is forcing Obama into a more aggressive debate with Romney, the Washington Post reports.(2 Comments)
House and Senate members of the Legislative Coordinating Commission adopted a resolution today to formally join the case, which was brought by opponents of a proposed requirement that all Minnesotans show photo identification in order to vote. The ACLU and other groups contend the constitutional amendment ballot question contains errors and omissions.
But Republicans who passed the amendment during the 2012 session want to make sure it remains on the statewide ballot in November. Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said the intervention is an appropriate step.
"When the Legislature takes a strong position, we do have an inherent right to stand before the court and affirm that position," Benson said.
The Minnesota House and Senate have gone to court many times before, but it might be the first time the Legislature as a whole has joined an existing lawsuit, according to Joel Michael, an attorney with the non-partisan House Research department.
"To my knowledge, the Legislature has never taken this exact action," Michael said.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, argued against the resolution. Thissen said the intervention was not only unprecedented, but an an unwise use of taxpayer money.
"We're going to be paying more tax dollars to defend what we should have done right the first time, and we didn't do it right the first time," Thissen said.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on July 17.
The groups lining up in support of and against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage are reacting to the announcement by General Mills CEO Ken Powell that the company will oppose the amendment.
General Mills Vice President Ken Charles wrote on the company's blog that the company values inclusion.
"While General Mills doesn't normally take positions on ballot measures, this is a business issue that impacts our employees. I am proud to see our company join the ranks of local and national employers speaking out for inclusion. We do not believe the proposed constitutional amendment is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy - and as a Minnesota-based company we oppose it. We value diversity. We value inclusion. We always have ... and we always will."
The move was quickly praised by Minnesotans United For All Families - a group working to defeat the amendment. Richard Carlbom, the group's executive director, wrote this on his Twitter page when he learned of the news.
Eat your Wheaties! Just landed in Chicago and will be up all night excited that General Mills came out against the amendment! #VoteNo— Richard Carlbom (@richardcarlbom) June 14, 2012
Carlbom also released a statement praising the company's decision:
"The business case against this amendment is straightforward and powerful. General Mills' decision to publicly oppose this hurtful, freedom-limiting amendment sends a clear message that neutrality on this amendment is simply not in Minnesota's best interest. In order to keep our state a thriving and competitive place to live and do business, we must maintain our status as a national leader in attracting top talent. Doing so begins in November with the defeat of this amendment, and we're proud to stand with General Mills and other Minnesota businesses - both big and small - in refusing to limit the freedom to marry for some committed couples in our state."
The decision was panned by Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment. John Helmberger, chair of Minnesota for Marriage, released this statement:
"It is very disappointing that General Mills has decided to play PC politics by pandering to a small but powerful interest group that is bent on redefining marriage, the core institution of society.
Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation. The amendment is about preserving marriage and making sure that voters always remain in control over the definition of marriage in our state, and not activist judges or politicians.
By taking this position, General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all around the globe that marriage doesn't matter to them.
Marriage is in the interest of children, because it is society's best way to help children experience the ideal environment where they are raised by their mother and father. It's ironic and regrettable that a corporation that makes billions marketing cereal to parents of children would take the position that marriage should be redefined."
General Mills is the latest Minnesota based-business to speak out against the amendment. Carlson Companies Chair Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Medtronic CEO Bill George and RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft have all spoken out against the amendment.
Voters will decide in November whether the Minnesota Constitution should be amended to define marriage as between one man and one woman.(3 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Members of Congress released personal financial information Thursday, although four members of Minnesota's delegation postponed revealing their annual finances for several months.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, both Republicans and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, all requested additional time to file their disclosure forms. Members can delay filing until mid-August. Last year, Franken, Bachmann and Cravaack delayed filing their disclosures until later in the summer.
Overall, Minnesota's members were worth considerably less than their well-heeled counterparts in both chambers. A 2011 report by the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Senate members have an average net worth of $2.6 million while House members average $756,000.
Franken, Bachmann and Cravaack, three of the four Minnesota members who have delayed filing their disclosure forms, would likely exceed those averages, based on their reported net worth last year. The six members whose 2012 filings are now available all report less than average net worths for their respective chamber.
Members of Congress are not required to report specific holdings and instead report their assets and additional income in the form of ranges, making a precise accounting of their net worth far from precise.
DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar may be worth as much as $1 million, the highest net worth of the Minnesota lawmakers reporting their finances today. Like last year, Minneapolis DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison continues to have the lowest net worth in the delegation with assets no greater than $34,000 and debts potentially reaching $615,000.
This year's filings are slightly different thanks to ethics legislation pushed by DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz that requires members to also disclose some details about their mortgages.
Amy Klobuchar (D) - Klobuchar is worth between $310,000 and $1.05 million, a slight decline from her 2011 filing in which her net worth was between $345,000 and $1.1 million.*CORRECTED, SEE NOTE BELOW Klobuchar reports no debts, and her money is primarily invested in mutual funds, life insurance and a college investment fund for her teenage daughter. UPDATE: Klobuchar's office says her reported assets are approximately midway between the low and high ends of the figures on her public filing.
Kurt Bills (R) - Klobuchar's likely Republican opponent in this fall's election, state Rep. Kurt Bills, is also required to file financial disclosure paperwork with the Senate. Bills reports holding assets between $86,000 and $290,000 with no debt.
Keith Ellison (D) - As noted above, Ellison is likely the member of the delegation with the lowest net worth, listing assets between $1,000 and $34,000 while reporting debts between $260,000 and $615,000. Among those debts is the mortgage on a house Ellison purchased in Minneapolis in January 2011.
John Kline (R) - Kline lists assets worth between $263,000 and $695,000, which include a stake in a family farm in Houston, MN and several annuities. Kline also owns residences in Lakeville, MN in his district and in Washington, DC. Kline has also taken out a home equity line of credit on his Washington home, in addition to his mortgage. Last year, Kline reported owning assets worth between $251,000 and $676,000.
Betty McCollum (D) - The St. Paul Congresswoman has assets worth between $12,000 and $180,000 and also owns homes in St. Paul and Washington, DC. Her mortgages on those two homes are worth between $200,000 and $500,000. McCollum's reported assets last year were worth between $11,000 and $165,000.
Erik Paulsen (R) - The second-term Republican owns assets worth between $152,000 and $709,000 and carries between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of debt on his home. Last year, Pauslen reported assets between $152,000 and $800,000. Unlike most members of the delegation, who appear to mostly invest in mutual funds, Paulsen owns shares in a number of blue-chip companies, including Cisco, Coca-Cola and Medtronic.
Tim Walz (D) - Walz reports holding assets worth between $98,000 and $295,000 and has between $190,000 and $465,000 in debt. That debt includes a mortgage his main home and a rental property in Mankato as well as credit card debt. Walz also has a stake in a family farm in Nebraska, where he was born.
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post used an incorrect figure for the assets Sen. Klobuchar reported in 2011. The assets reported by Sen. Klobuchar this week are accurate. The figure has been corrected and MPR News regrets the error.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association has endorsed DFL Senator Amy Klobuchar for a second term.
"Senator Klobuchar has always been a favorite with our membership because they know that she works tirelessly on issues important to them and she always makes public safety a top priority. She is seen as an aggressive advocate," said MPPOA Executive Director Dennis Flaherty.
The MPPOA represents more than 7,500 law enforcement and public safety officials throughout Minnesota.
Klobuchar is running for reelection. She faces Republican Kurt Bills in November.