Posted at 5:45 AM on July 10, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has waded into a fierce debate with Republicans over the titles of the two proposed constitutional amendments. Ritchie renamed the title on the Voter ID amendment on Monday.
He took the action just hours after supporters of an amendment to ban same-sex marriage announced a lawsuit against him.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development will release the list of groups that applied for DEED's bonding money. DEED will determine $47.5 million in projects this year. The deadline to apply was Monday.
Gov. Dayton says aid for the Sartell Paper Mill could be coming in a special session. He's urging the company to talk to state officials.
The Mayo Clinic is expanding through affiliations.
Minnesota is number one when it comes to medical care.
Gov. Dayton's task force on bullying is split on its goals.
The New York Times says some Republicans aren't embracing efforts to repeal the entire health care bill. The House is scheduled to vote on the issue this week.
The House Ag Chair and DFL Rep. Collin Peterson released a draft of the Farm Bill.
Five people are being sought in the shooting of a border agent.
President Obama signed a bill that includes medical device language supported by DFL Sen. Al Franken.
President Obama also signed a bill into law that would ban synthetic drugs. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar supported that measure.
Race for Congress
Mike Parry blasts Allen Quist for his gas tax vote. The two Republicans are squaring off in the August primary.
Democrat Mike Obermueller raised $252k in the race against GOP Rep. John Kline.
Minnesota is part of American Action Network's efforts to help state Republican parties with financial problems.
Race for President
President Obama said he wanted to continue the Bush era tax cuts for Americans earning less than $250,000 a year. He would increase taxes on those who make more than that.
President Obama's record on outsourcing is drawing criticism from the left.
Mitt Romney is under pressure to release more of his tax records.
Here's a write up on the fundraising race. Mitt Romney outraised President Obama in June.
The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the race deadlocked.
Minnesota-based Best Buy has decided not to renew its membership with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
Matt Furman, Best Buy's spokesman, confirmed the company is no longer a member of ALEC as of this year. The company determined that its work on two ALEC subcommittees had come to an end and it decided not to renew its membership as a result, Furman said.
Best Buy is among 24 companies that have decided to withdraw from ALEC, according to ColorOfChange, an organization that has been pressuring corporations to cut ties with the organization.
ALEC is best known for bringing together state lawmakers and corporations to discuss and jointly draft model legislation meant to be introduced in state legislatures. ALEC says it is a bipartisan organization, but the policies it supports and its membership tend to be conservative.
ALEC has come under scrutiny recently for backing the "stand-your-ground" gun bill, legislation similar to Florida's deadly force law that liberal and civil rights groups blame for the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
For its part, ALEC decided in April to end the task force that supported the "stand-your-ground" bill.
Roughly 30 of Minnesota's Republican lawmakers are members of ALEC, according to former ALEC state chairwoman Laura Brod.
WASHINGTON - After more than a year of pressure from DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, the United States Army will no longer sponsor the Stewart-Haas NASCAR racing team and its driver Ryan Newman. The Stewart-Haas racing team made the announcement Tuesday.
The Army has been an active sponsor of NASCAR teams for a decade and argued the sponsorships had helped with recruiting. Last year, McCollum unsuccessfully sought to end the Army's $7 million a year support for the team and her office received death threats over the issue. This year, McCollum teamed up with Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and attached an amendment to a military spending bill to end all military sponsorship of sporting events, which she estimates costs taxpayers upwards of $80 million this year.
"By ending its sponsorship of NASCAR, the Army made the right move to eliminate a wasteful program and protect taxpayer dollars - which has been my goal all along," said McCollum in a statement.
McCollum and Kingston plan to continue work making sure their amendment banning all sports sponsorships by the military becomes law. The military also sponsors bass fishing and ultimate fighting tournaments. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA), plans to challenge the amendment on procedural grounds once the military spending bill reaches the floor sometime later in July.(1 Comments)
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says it has received more than $288 million in requests for an economic development fund enacted into law last session. The total amount of the requests is more than six times the size of the $47.5 million available fund.
The projects vary in size and scope. The city of St. Paul is asking for $27 million to help build a minor league ballpark for the St. Paul Saints in Lowertown. Minneapolis is asking for $25 million to redesign Nicollet Mall. Rochester is asking for $25 million to expand the Mayo Civic Center. Two other cities, St. Cloud and Mankato, also asked for money to renovate and expand convention and civic centers. The city of Braham has the smallest request: $221,000 for sewer and water infrastructure.
DEED's commissioner Mark Phillips now will have to sort through the proposals and determine which communities should receive the funds. The department will use a set of criteria that relies on number of jobs created and the economic impact the project will bring to the state of Minnesota. Lawmakers authorized the $47.5 million in the $496 million bonding bill signed by Governor Mark Dayton last May.
DEED officials have said they'd like to appropriate the money by the end of the summer so construction could start this year.
(Will be updated)
Here's the list of requests:
Gov. Dayton sent letters to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and GOP legislative leaders saying his administration is moving forward with creating a state-based health insurance exchange.
"We will seize the historic opportunities to improve the quality and affordability of health care afforded us by new law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, whose constitutionality has now been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court," Dayton wrote to Sebelius.
The Dayton Administration has been working to create the exchange over the past ten months. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last month upholding the federal health care law gave supporters more incentive to move forward. The DFL governor's administration has been working to implement the exchange despite protests from Republicans in the Minnesota legislature, who questioned the law's constitutionality.
In a letter to GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, Dayton said it was their responsibility to create the exchange and invited them to work with his administration.
"In the future, the law will continue to be evaluated and possibly revised. However, we share the responsibility now to prepare to implement it, beginning next year, in the best interests of our citizens," Dayton wrote to Zellers and Senjem.
The state-based health insurance exchange is a key part of the federal health care law. The goal is to create an online marketplace where individuals and businesses can shop for health insurance. The exchanges are supposed to be operating by 2014. If the state doesn't create an exchange, the federal government will create one for the state's residents. Several groups that support Republicans, including Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, are lobbying for lawmakers to create a state-based exchange.
It isn't certain that those lobbying efforts will be successful. GOP House Majority Leader Matt Dean wrote on his blog today that he supports repealing the entire health care law. GOP Sen. David Hann, who chairs the committee that oversees health and human services, told MPR News that he's reluctant to work on the exchange because the law can be repealed if Republicans run the table in the November election.
But Republican Rep. Jim Abeler, says the state should create the exchange. Abeler chairs the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.
Minnesota Management and Budget announced today that the 2012 revenues exceed the February forecast by $336 million.
The department's July Economic Update finds that higher-than-predicted income tax receipts are the main driver for the good news.
The higher tax collections are good news for Gov. Dayton and state lawmakers who have to craft a two year budget in January. There is, however, some cause for concern. The update says job growth slowed in the first half of 2012 and "GDP growth is now expected to fall below forecast made earlier this year." That could mean there is an increase in state services like subsidized health insurance.
The update only gauges revenue collections and doesn't account for spending. Minnesota officials won't have a better understanding of the state's budget situation until the next forecast is released in November.
Here's the update:
July Update 2012